LEAVE US B craftivism project @_LeaveUsB

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Some of Clarissa Palmer’s bees and butterflies

In September 2020 I was introduced to craftivism thanks to the Loving Earth course I did online via Woodbroke. The meditations, the panel making and the Covid pandemic really deepened my thinking about how I live and what choices I can make to effect change.

As well as beginning to alter how and where I live (somewhat curtailed by lockdowns) I started a project in November that I’m calling Leave us B because without pollinators and invertebrates nothing can survive. Focusing on bees and butterflies, I’m making palm-sized fabric flowers and butterflies out of repurposed and recycled materials including litter-picked crisp and sweet packets (they make excellent and eye catching wings). Each one is embroidered with SOS and has ‘use less pesticide’ written around the edge in laundry marker pen. They are double sided, the flowers have a bee on the un-embroidered side, the butterflies have shiny wings and felt bodies.

My plan is to make several hundred (60 so far) and put them where people can find them near places that rely on pesticide use i.e. near garden centres, sports grounds, parks etc. They will probably have small information tags on them though I haven’t yet solved weatherproofing those. I’m also planning on sending them to individuals at Defra, the NFU and other organisations that are involved in decision making around the use of chemicals in food production including neonicotinoids which can still be used in the UK in emergency situations such as the recent decision in favour of neonic treated sugar beet seeds.

The challenge is not the crafting which I find easy, fulfilling and uplifting but the activism. The research is fascinating, the peaceable non-judgemental letter writing testing, but the real hurdle for me is social media which I have never wanted to use, yet realise is a positive tool for campaigning.

The deep joy I’ve found in both Loving Earth and craftivism is the positivity that comes from addressing a painful dilemma e.g. environmental degradation with love and hope. As I sew I think about the good that can come about through a change in pesticide usage and not the harm that it is doing. It has made a world of difference to me and it reminds me that we are the only ones who can make a world of difference for the invertebrates we depend on. Lockdowns are tough. I feel blessed to have something engaging to lighten the darker moments and to carry forward come what may. Thank you to all at Loving Earth Project for your inspiring work. 

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