“Taking care of and honoring the things we have is really important to me”, Melinda Watson.
What is your job about?
We focus on two key waste Streams – Plastic and electrical waste, we want to raise awareness – it’s staggering how little is known about plastics. It also has to be linked to young people and change driven solutions focused. We want it to not all be doom and gloom. We work a lot with waste contractors, legislation directors and we’re really focusing on plastic at the moment because it’s so vital. We are trying to move people beyond recycling and plastic bags we should really be thinking about refusing things, then reusing and then recycling.
What issues do you address?
- We are trying to move people beyond recycling and plastic bags. We should really be thinking about refusing things, then reusing and then recycling.
- We want to raise awareness of these issues and help people to understand. We want to make it a normal part of life
What moved you to take action?
- My background is in graphic design and I always had a problem with how much materials we produce to throw away. I then went into education for myself and wrote a degree programme on Graphic Sustainability. My background is packaging graphics and we looked at redesigning packing, looking at the products and really starting at zero usage. We tied in bioregional and sustainability modules into the course.
- My background combined with the motivation from my son and his wisdom and my belief that this is so important.
What were the obstacles that you had to overcome?
I set up the foundation in part because my son died in India 7 years ago. He was going to do sustainable product design at Falmouth and we had talked about a lot of these things.
What helped you keep going in hard times?
- I learned a lot from my son and his passion. It gives me the drive and extra motivation. It’s something I passionately believe in.
- People seem to be sick to death of people talking about the environment so I have started just saying our home. I think passion is really important, learning and keep on learning, the drive and also you always take knocks but you have to keep going.
- I am an eternal optimist. I ask myself where that comes form but I honestly can’t say. I’m excited by what could be.
What first prompted you to become interested in environmental issues and when was that?
I was born in Africa in Zimbabwe and lived there until I was 12. I know that has had a profound effect on me. A lot of what I learnt from my mother and stewardship of where you live, and the indigenous populations in Africa who have so much knowledge which we have forgotten. Taking care of, and honoring the things we have is really important to me. We are so busy in our working lives it becomes very separated from our personal lives, the things we love and are passionate about, we need to being those together. I think we have stopped listening. All of my training, teaching and experiences have finally come together for me to really use them.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?
8 – It gives me joy, I take the time out to go and sit on the beach and connecting with the earth.