Recently I did a question and answer time with lovely author Jane Fallon about her new book Queen Bee, and so when I was approached about a blog tour for the new release The Joyful Environmentalist by Isabel Losada and given the option of Q&A, I thought it would be a really interesting piece to do, given the subject matter. This positive take on how you can find joy in your own contributions, whatever they are, to environmentalism has taken the world by storm already, and is a manifesto for living better in every way. I was so pleased when Isabel joined me for a conversation, and it really was a pleasure to talk to her.
Isabel is as full of joy as her book is, and her well considered answers to my questions made me truly smile. Here’s how our happy exchange went.
|Hi Isabel, thanks for joining me today to talk about your book, “The Joyful Environmentalist”. How did the book come into being?|
I like reading positive books – don’t you? There is so much out there that appears to be designed to depress us so I like my reading to be something that inspires and entertains. Like many people I’ve been a lover of nature all my life and I’ve become increasingly concerned about the environmental crisis. But the books that I read about it were all very depressing and also made me feel that there was nothing I could do.
This my 7th book and I’ve always been interested in happiness and living life to the full so I decided to write a book about everything that we can do to help the planet that enriches our lives at the same time and also to ensure that it’s an enjoyable and uplifting read. I wanted to create a book full of practical tips but that would also make people laugh.
How does your personal experience of environmentalism impact your life, and the way you live?
It’s a journey isn’t it? An ‘environmentalist’ is defined as: ‘a person who seeks to improve the quality of the natural environment and to protect it from harmful human activity.’ This describes all sane people and I think most of us are on this journey. We are all realising that everything we do has an impact. I started my journey thinking about not using single use plastic and now I’m learning to make the best and most joyful choices in every aspect of life. So that’s what the book is about – the way we live, our homes, the way we work, play, dress, eat, relax, garden, shop, travel, volunteer, vote, bank – everything. It’s a joyful and enriching journey and that’s what I share with the reader.
Where would your starting point be for people who are just branching out into living a more environmentally conscious way?
It’s say read, ’The Joyful Environmentalist’ and steal all the ideas that work for you. The book is the embroidered answer. Nothing there is complicated or difficult to do but by the end the reader will have all the tools and know how to find more tools based on which bits of the book the reader enjoys most.
I love the title of your book, and that you refer to yourself as “joyful”. How do you find the joy in every day?
The ‘joyful’ in the title is describing the kind of environmentalism I’m advocating. So if you are an environmentalist who loves gardening then learn to garden in an environmental way as that will bring you joy. If you are a cook – learn to source foods that are organic, UK grown and seasonal – as that brings joy to cooking, helps the planet and tastes fantastic. If you are seamstress then find the fabrics that most help the planet, know the supply chains of the fabrics you work with so your life is enhanced in that way. If you are a banker, become interested in ethical banking that supports environmental projects and invest in those – and so on. How do I find joy in the every day that helps the environment? It’s the culmination of everything we do – all the choices the we make – loving the planet is a very enriching and joyful way to live.
Was writing this book something you always wanted to do? The world certainly needs it!
Thank you. Yes – it’s been in the back of my mind for many years. I remember having a ‘Friends of the Earth’ T shirt when I was about ten years old. I’ve always felt fiercely protective of nature, animals, birds, fish, plants – everything that lives. I’m grateful that my career as a writer has given me a way to write about serious topics with humour as it makes them more fun to read. But not less serious. If you see what I mean.
What type of books do you normally read yourself? Do you have a favourite genre?
I almost always read what I write – which is narrative non-fiction. Real life, in my experience, is almost always not only stranger but better than fiction. I have read fiction in the past, mainly the classics and loved them of course. I’’ve also done a lot of what some would call ’Spiritual reading,’ that’s my emphasis on the positive again. But now I’m reading books about the environment that focus on solutions.
Finally, how would you sum up your book in three words?
Well I gave a lot of thought to answering that question when I chose the title. That’s what you have to do when you choose a title – sum up your book in very few words so that people understand what it’s about. So may I answer, ’The Joyful Environmentalist.’ ?
What a real pleasure. I can’t recommend the book – or its author! – more. If, like so many people right now, you are trying to find ways to not only be more environmentally friendly, but also be happier in yourself, this book is a great place to start.
Thank you so much to Isabel for joining me, and to Bei from Midas for setting up this interview.