As I stood listening to Greta Thunberg at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, I found myself wondering how many of those 1000s gathered together for those 15 minutes in that sunny field would go on to answer her call for immediacy of action. I wasn’t hopeful.
For although there was a remarkability about Greta that day, it was (for me) in the gaping contrast between the tininess of her form on that epic stage and the almost unbearably enormous scale of the challenge she so regularly asks us all to meet.
I understand the message and she communicates it with brilliant consistency. And yet for all its earnestness what was missing that afternoon was connection. I needed something (or someone) to help connect me more emphatically to Greta’s undeniable single-mindedness and anger and provide greater tangibility to the call-to-action. Instead, I left hungry for next year’s primetime slot to deliver far greater impact beyond the Somerset skyline.
In contrast, Michael and Emily Eavis’ solstice gathering was remarkable for its sense of connection. Between tent neighbours, between people and the land and most noticeably between performers and their audiences. Starved of this scale of crowd through the pandemic, the level of emotion in performances extended beyond the well-celebrated highs that Glastonbury so often delivers. The connection, realised in all the joy and tears, was next level.
As a pending B Corporation* we have admired the Glastonburys of this world that have chosen to become a force for good and, like them, we hope to achieve this through the impact we too can make on people and planet.
Our ‘home’ on the A303 at North Cadbury was built with materials that tread lightly on the environment, our solar panels carry the weight of much of our electricity and we don’t use gas. In time we’ll have electric vehicle chargers sitting alongside our bike hoops. We work hard to find good local people to work with, seek out small producers and makers from the region to represent, and cook with locally sourced ingredients from scratch.
And yet we still wonder how much we matter? Do our guests recognise Ed Hawkins’ climate graphic behind our counter for what it is or do they just think it’s nice wallpaper? Have we done a good enough job informing our guests and where is the line between informing and pushing? Ultimately to matter more we’ve decided to set out this year to build an even greater connection between our team, guests and the spirit of our region. We now have a little gang of ‘B Keepers’ from all parts of the team. One afternoon this month they gathered amongst the trees in the orchard and worked up a list of tangible immediate actions we could take to improve our impact, along with a few slower burns. Last week the first of those became a reality – our used coffee grounds now go to Tom at The Apothecary Garden in Butleigh, to produce compost that will feed Somerset beds, at the same time reducing the volume and cost of our recycling collections.