Mz. November 2020
Philippa, tell us a little about yourself.
Having worked on permaculture farms since 2015, I later went on to take position with Greenpeace Czech in 2017, and now in I have the role of Corporate Partnerships Manager with Tree-Nation since October 2018.
In this position I manage the relationship between our corporate partners and reforestation projects to support and finance these projects. Currently we have planted in excess of
6.6 million trees worldwide in over 36 countries. I feel really blessed I get to work for such an incredible company.
When did you realize you cared about our planet?
I always had an affinity toward Nature. As a kid I was always drawing trees but there were a series of specific experiences that would catalyze my change to care. In 2011, I went to Kilamanjaro. I remember when I got to top, just looking out, something really shifted in me. I realized how beautiful the planet is and with that appreciation I wanted to see more of it. I then traveled through Europe and India. Eventually I would pack up and sell everything to travel. In 2015 there was a pivotal moment where I was diving with giant manta rays and one had plastic on one of its fins. I knew that wasn't right and started to question how we were treating the earth. From there, probably the most pivotal was my first time in the Amazon, I entered by boat and went all along the river for a week. I saw amazing places and fell in love. On the way out of the Amazon, I had a flight from Rio to go to Australia. We were traveling down a long road. On one side we saw dense jungle and the other side was all torn down. It was a desert. Literally one side of this long road was alive, and the other side was dead. I knew, at that moment, I needed to do something.
What are you most passionate about within the permaculture movement?
From my travels I visited many communities and realized that we could regenerate the land. When I learned that "What?! we can grow fresh food all the time from our house and it would be good for planet, people, and animals? Why aren't we all doing that?" Regenerating Nature is so inclusive. I love this the most from our movement.
Do you have an offering you would like to share with our readers?
I do actually. I say this to people I come into contact with on a daily basis. I invite anyone who will read this to reconnect with the Earth through a simple method. Put one hand on the heart and one hand on the Earth and just feel its energy. A lot of us don't put our hand on the ground. Even those of us who run around barefoot forget to put our hand on the ground and so I really think about the people living in the cities. This practice, for me, is so profound in terms of my own connection to Earth. Left hand on the heart and right hand on the Earth, this immediately calms and grounds me. I feel more connected and can sink into meditation.
What does a sexy future look like to you?
Personally, I just want to live in the garden of Eden. Running around with the least amount of clothes on, drinking pure crystalline water that is not polluted, running around picking ripe fruits from trees with my friends and my lovers.
That's basically how I feel about our Planet, our movement, and
how our future can be sexier.
Who has inspired you on your path?
Christopher Shanks, my permaculture teacher. He's a wizard. He blew my absolute mind. He inspires me so much. He's a wealth of knowledge, funny and quirky. But you know, in terms of my connection with the Earth, I think I am my own inspiration to myself. I've realized how far I've come. If I think back to what I was 10 years ago and where I am now, I'm a completely different person. Oh and my friend, Judy Heald - she is the one who encouraged me to travel. Had it not been for her I might have just gone to Australia on a working holiday visa and my life would have been very very different. The traveling is what completely changed my life.
How do you nourish yourself to keep working in service to our planet?
I always enjoyed dancing, but not until traveling did I experience ‘Ecstatic Dance’, ‘5 Rhythms’ and these freedom of movement spaces that allowed me to truely tap into that part of myself. Permission to be my craziest self, roll around on the floor, grind hard and twirl like a ballerina without judgement, and with encouragement to be whatever I wanted to be. Feeling each beat vibrate through my whole body and reverberate into a flick of the hips and a posed finger.
When I dance, I feel pure freedom, I totally lose myself in that moment, no mind control, no thinking, just energy and flow state. I become water, or fire, I become a lion, I become a swan. I turn into a channel for the music that runs through me. That is when I feel my most blissful, my most liberated. I feel my heart beat faster, I am alive and I am connected to myself. I feel my essence.
I give thanks to the producers of these spaces, for the music that really moves me, the art of the musicians that create the resonance that turns into a channel of pure love allowing me to find that part of myself, that now I can find anytime.
These days, I forget that there was a time I didn’t know this, I didn’t move. I didn’t allow myself that expression. These kind of spaces are not mainstream, yet. And so living in the UK I just didn’t have the opportunity to have this experience. But the good news is, we can create this space anywhere, anytime. With our own permission.
Here's another offering actually. I invite anyone, who is feeling blocked, who feels constricted, just to move your body and feel some release. Find a space, put on your favorite music, or something you never heard before, close your eyes and start moving. Allow yourself to surrender into however your body feels like bending, twirling, bouncing, or elegantly twisting. Get rid of those stories, ‘I can’t dance’, ‘I look stupid’, ‘what will people say if they see me’, and start moving. Forget everything, and be in that moment with yourself in your own expression. Through it all.. we dance.
These are strange and challenging times but nothing will kill the vibe of love and togetherness.
What else are you working on?
Oh my, I'm so glad you asked! I have an amazing project I am working on called Pinuya Nursery. Through working with Tree Nation, I realized there is a need from some communities to have a nursery. This is something that Tree Nation does not currently fund.
In particular, I have worked with Pinuya Village for years. Aldeia Pinuya is 7km from Tarauacá in Acre, the northern western most state of Brazil which borders Peru and Bolivia.
Pinuya Village is the smallest Huni Kuin indigenous land in the northern region of Acre, Brazil and the villagers are currently suffering from a lack of food supplies. Due to displacement from their original indigenous lands, the village were relocated during the 1960-70's to an area of deforested cattle land. Pinuya, by the way, means hummingbird.
Due to the size and location of the current territory, they are unable to hunt in the forests or go to the river for fishing and therefore rely on other sources for cultivating food.
To date, the 70 plus families that reside in Pinuya have made enormous efforts and progress over many years to reforest their land as well as planting crops and trees to provide food over 200 people that live in the village. However, the village's original tree nursery was destroyed in a storm a number of years ago and due to lack of funds has never been able to be re-built.
I am raising funds to create a 10m x 10m tree nursery, the construction of the tree nursery will be carried out by residents of the village, and the children will be educated and learn methods of construction during this process. We are committed to using no plastics in this nursery, which is so prevalent in both tree nurseries and all modern gardening. All saplings will be grown in natural fibres, including coconut husks. Our ambition is to build the nursery by February next year so we can plant seeds and grow saplings with at least 6 months growing time in preparation for the beginning of the planting season in August 2021. This will be our first year of planting.
To avoid future crisis of food shortage we want to focus on planting food forests on the village land. The tree nursery would allow for the planting, and the selling of surplus saplings to their neighbors in the nearest city of Tarauaca as an alternative source of income to tourism and spread the knowledge and necessity for all peoples to plant food forests on their land.
The tree nursery will be used by the village to grow many varieties of trees, bushes and plants. These varieties will be a mix of fast growing species to provide shade structures and timber for building and construction, nutritional fruit trees for food, and medicinal plants for traditional medicines. Building the tree nursery will ensure food security for future generations and an income for the village. The children will also learn how to grow trees and plants from seedlings, and the importance of this work for the prosperity of the community.
There is a large area of the Huni Kui land that still requires to be reforested. Once the village is able to start growing its saplings, there is also the opportunity for them to raise further funding to reforest their land. I have a great video that can be watched on our fundraising page.
Thank you for asking, I'm really excited about this project and hope it becomes something replicable in the future.
"Left hand on the heart and right hand on the Earth, this imediately calms and grounds me. I feel more connected and can sink into meditation."
-- Philippa "Pippa" Attwood
Do you have any last inspiring thoughts?
Yes! I forgot! Through my work with Tree Nation, we have developed new ways of working with the fashion industry to provide solutions for their sustainability goals. Its well known that this industry negatively contributes to the environment, and they are now working on improving that, through use of new, regenerative fibres and reducing their CO2 footprint. Tree Nation offers retailer the solution to plant trees alongside their sales, it’s an easy install that allows a tree to be planted on behalf of the customer every time they place an order, or a specific product is sold. I was recently invited to speak on a panel with Fashionindex “A Conversation on Working towards Brand & Store Environmental Sustainability” alongside Macys and NYC’s Office of Sustainability. Its so exciting to me to be shaping a new environmentally positive future for this industry!
(Below we have included the link to the full panel review)
This interview has been brought to you by Permaculture Pinup, a project of Green Wave (501(c)(3) nonprofit). If you liked this interview, love what we are doing, and would like to see us continue please consider supporting the Green Wave sponsored project, Pinuya Nursery. Over the ages, womyn have been likened to trees. The Pinuya Nursery is nursery to foster trees that will go to creating a food forest that will provide food for an entire village and reforest the land.
Thank you for helping us heal the Earth!