justice is: making a difference where you are

Jenny Cooke giving a raw and honest account of what justice means to her...

2014 marks 10 years since I first started campaigning with SPEAK (just before I went to university). I studied engineering because I wanted to make a practical difference to people's lives but now with a full time job I find myself with less time for campaigning than when I was a student.

I found it so easy to tie myself in knots about my desire to change the world while also earning my keep.

I also noticed I had taken my eye off the ball with regard to climate change: it felt like it all went quiet after Copenhagen in 2009, but of course our pollution has continued to increase and we're now starting to see the effects (like this winter's storms).

So this year I set myself a challenge - not to do "big" things but instead to do little ones consistently. I broke the challenge up into 4 spheres of influence: at home, at work, through campaigning and through prayer.

In real life terms this equated to one letter or campaign action each month and joining the Christian Ecology Link prayer community (with an excellent monthly prayer guide - see www.greenchristian.org!)

I've been looking for simple lasting changes to my personal habits each month to reduce my carbon footprint by at least one tonne this year (for example switching energy supplier or getting a compost bin) and I've been getting myself better informed to suggest ways to put sustainability at the heart of my engineering projects.

For me, that's been mainly in the rail industry. I'm fortunate to work for a big consultant engineering company who design all sorts of infrastructure (roads, rail, flood defences, water supplies and more), and having discovered that half of the UK's carbon emissions come from the infrastructure we all use, this looks like a great opportunity to help us reach our 80 percent reduction by 2050!

The final part of the challenge was to write about my efforts, to learn from others and hopefully inspire you to see what ‘justice is’ in your own spheres of influence. See my new blog at www.treadinglightly.org.uk and feel free to comment!