Meet The Woman Championing Sustainability in Her Community

This week we spoke to Jan Johnson, a local Manchester woman who is making a big difference in her community and inspiring others to do their part for the environment.

Hi Jan, why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a community volunteer working with Step Up MCR on an environmental project called ‘Evermore’. I’m hoping to engage my community in different ways to inspire them to do more for the environment and think about making small changes in their life, like I have, to reduce their footprint.

What inspired you to start doing that?

I was actually inspired due to my love of Coldplay. They highlighted the importance of environmental issues and teamed up with lots of other agencies to help combat the climate crisis. It made me start to wonder what I could do for my community and, so, Evermore was born.

In your own life, what changes have you made to reduce your footprint?

Over the past year, I’ve been gradually making small changes over the past year to my home and to the way me and my family live. It’s just little things like swapping my shampoo bottles for a bar instead, using a clothes airer rather than the tumble drier, or sweeping with a brush more to use the hoover less.

I also share my friend’s items they want to recycle to someone else on the freecycle sites. The other day, I managed to help my neighbour rehome 4 bicycles, some gym equipment and a garden table and chairs. Last week, my other friend had bedroom furniture that was rehomed due to sharing on the freecycle page. It can be difficult getting families on board but these small changes make a big difference. I think that Evermore will at least help a few people and hopefully cause a bit of a ripple effect.

hedgehog house amongst grass
Hedgehog House that Jan built in her garden

How did you first hear about Play it Green?

I was introduced to your Co-Founder Richard through a mutual friend, Aaron Fletcher from Buzzin’ Sounds. He felt that through Evermore we may be able to collaborate in the future.

I know you’re a fan of our weekly tips as you’ve even recommended one to us before. What have you liked about following us?

Well, when I started on my environmental journey I was really overwhelmed at first, I felt there were too many pages to follow and read. With Play it Green it’s everything you need to know in one place but it’s just giving you the information a little bit at a time. It makes it much more accessible.

I even learnt that World Rainforest Day was coming up because of your article the other day!

Are there any other organisations you follow?

Yes, I also follow the WWF, Wildlife Trust, RSPB, who I volunteer with, and a few other eco-friendly organisations.

How have you tried to inspire other people to change their behaviour?

It started with my family and getting my kids involved, especially through nature. Now, I have Evermore and I’ve been using social media to spread the word and inspire people to make changes in their lives. My social media skills still aren’t very good though, so following accounts like Play it Green can help as I can reshare stuff that’s interesting or important.

Through the pandemic I’ve also gotten into art and poetry, I’ve even written a children’s book called ‘Dolly Daydream’ about friendship and acceptance. I’ve found that these can be a great way to communicate with people about the environment too. I’m planning on writing a sequel called ‘Dolly Daydream and the Eco Crew’.

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You mentioned nature as a great way to get people involved, has that been something that helped you get engaged with the environment?

Yes, definitely. I’ve recently struggled with depression and getting out into nature and really focusing on the environment around me has helped massively. It’s something I would recommend for everyone and it’s helped me become even more passionate about protecting the world around us.

I’m also helping a friend run a Forest school during the summer, I’m really excited to be out in nature it’s like I’m getting my zest for life back again.

You can keep up with Jan’s project Evermore by following the project on Twitter, and follow her author’s account to see when her new children’s book is released.

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