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How I became an environmentalist

Natalie Fée is an environmentalist from Bristol.  She is the founder and CEO of City To Sea.

Nature’s always been my sanctuary, my happy place since I was a kid.

As I got older, I realised our relationship with nature was way out of whack and started to see how our actions were jeopardising the delicate balance of life on planet Earth.

And so I decided not to just sit back and let it happen, but to fight for environmental justice.

What is an environmentalist?

I think anyone who cares for the planet and speaks out on behalf of it – essentially giving nature a voice – is an environmentalist.

Writing my book

How to Save the World for Free came about after reading a report that we’d lost half the world’s wildlife in my lifetime.

I’d been campaigning for years on plastic pollution through my non-profit organisation, City to Sea, but on reading that report I felt inspired to write a book about the wider ecological crisis that we’re facing, and hopefully take an army of plastic pollution campaigners along with me for the ride.

What things people can do to be more environmentally friendly

Fly less, eat a predominantly plant-based diet, and switch to a green energy provider. And ride a bicycle if you can.

After that, you can check your pension is an ethical one, and switch to an ethical bank, like Triodos.

Next, if you have an outdoor space, grow some veg and lots of bee-friendly flowers. Finally, get involved with a non-profit or direction-action group to make your voice heard and be visible.

Or, if you prefer not to be visible, look into Craftivism as a quieter, more gentle art of protest. Oh, and definitely download the Refill app!

Read more: Five things you can do to help tackle climate change

What is City to Sea?

I founded City to Sea in 2015, feeling inspired to do something about plastic pollution. In the last five years, our campaigns have had a significant impact on reducing plastic on the high street, in supermarkets and at government level. From petitions to our award-winning Refill app, to community-led programmes and education, our work stops hundreds of tonnes of plastic entering our waterways each year.

My proudest achievement

There’s so much to be thankful for! And an amazing team to be proud of. A personal highlight was our #SwitchtheStick campaign when we got all nine major UK supermarkets to stop making cotton buds out of plastic and to make them out of paper instead. That move alone is stopping over 400 tonnes of non-recyclable, single-use plastic at source each year!

Advice to my younger self

Check your privilege, then mobilise it for good.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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