Meet the winner -Charlie Barty-King
I’m incredibly flattered to be nominated for this award, not to mention receiving it! Thank you. However, through all my efforts there are and have been many amazing people who have supported me along the way. To them I am deeply grateful for making me excited and hopeful for the future; something, it feels like, many people need right now.
Consider this, our shared humanity is perhaps the most relatable and important aspect to focus on when trying to have positive impact. It’s easy to put anyone into a box, but the one box you can be sure we all fit into is being human. Always fallible, always complex, often unsure. No one truly knows what’s going on. I think many of the world’s problems stem from any given actor(s) thinking that they do and thus preventing an ability to see a shared narrative — our shared humanity. Many issues we’re all aware of follow on from this. Those who do think they have a handle on what’s really going on either live in a bubble or are unaware of an over-simplification (such as what I’m writing here right now). My point is, if you want to have impact in the world around you, find a shared narrative, see a shared humanity, and I promise it will help you derive meaning from whatever it is you end up doing with your time on this planet.
The projects I’ve been involved with and continue to be involved with are numerous, varied and always, for me, stimulating. I have set up the Green Society of Wolfson College and Green Talks lecture series, engaged the extended Wolfson community in College activities, provided continuity of thinking to the student association, new students and new staff alike, and given impetus to countless events, plans and ideas, not necessarily my own.
The hardest part of most things is often starting. Therefore, if you can make the start easier for those around you, you’ll immediately have more impact. That’s honestly my golden piece of advice. Make things easier for people. It’s simple, but effective. Feel comfortable and be prolific doing seemingly benign work, it’s usually the barrier for movement in everything. Whether that’s following through with making a connection you promised, responding to emails in good time, giving a second eye to someone nervous about an output, or creating an initial plan to encourage a competing response from the powers that be, all these are examples of making it easier for others to start down a road they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Indulgent text over, I will use this award to further develop the Cambridge Resilience Webs: interactive maps of all the local environmental, sustainability and social justice groups in the Cambridge city and Cambridge university area. These webs were created by volunteers at Transition Cambridge, Cambridge Donut, student Lena Morrill and me. Our next steps are to improve their visibility, utility, and user interfaces. My goal is for the University and City Council to back these webs as official resources to better connect related organisations working in such areas. The benefits to Cambridgeshire would have a multiplier effect and increase resource efficiency, productivity of thinking and collaboration.
I would also like to gain help with producing a reliable “Sustainability Pack”, of which many have tried and failed to properly compile. I would start at Wolfson College, where we are in the process of producing a pack for incoming students 2021–2022 with input from all levels of the College. However, my end goal is to create an editable ‘base version’ that is accessible for others to download and adapt to their institution, department or organisation. Often the barrier to creating such resources is the legwork required to start (that is, compiling and formatting all the generic information and layouts). I would therefore seek to remove this barrier and proliferate a reliable and consistent Sustainability Pack(s) across Cambridgeshire for all new students, new university employees, departments and businesses should they want to use and adapt for their context.
Finally, through the planned Events Programme 2021 at the Interdisciplinary Research Hub in Sustainability & Conservation at Wolfson College, I will use this award to seek support for our event “Structuring the Cambridge Sustainability and Conservation platform” for October 2021. The aim is to provide a platform for administrative cross-talk across Cambridge’s many green-orientated organisations, centred around addressing gaps, needs and proactive collaboration, not technical research, outputs, talks or work already achieved; elements already well over-catered for in Cambridge.
I believe progress starts with the individual first and foremost. Seeing a shared humanity, making things easier, and not being afraid of benign work are my secret to having impact. I hope you can find this useful in your own efforts.
Thank you for this award. It truly means a great deal.