P&P Campaigner Profile: Cath Laidlaw
27 Nov 2006
Every month People & Planet profiles an individual campaigner, in order for us to celebrate and highlight what P&Pers are doing. If you think one of your friends should be displayed on this page then then get in touch with us. This month's offering is...
Name Cath Laidlaw
University University of Worcester
What are you studying? English Literature
What inspired you to start campaigning? Me and some mates at school set up an Amnesty International group after a friend did a project on Amnesty and told us about it all - so that was my first taste of campaigning. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do the whole gap year thing before university and volunteered in Zambia which gave me a small insight into the problems and issues that afflict this world that we perhaps don’t feel the effects of here in the UK. However, I was also able to meet many inspirational people and realise that even in the face of seemingly enormous problems people can make a real difference.
Describe your most memorable P&P experience. Shared Planet 2005! Unfortunately I couldn’t make it this year (sniff sniff) but last year’s event definitely got me hooked - especially with the chance to meet so many like-minded people and to hear such inspirational speakers like Tony Benn. The party was pretty good too!
How did you first hear about P&P? What´s the best thing about being involved in a P&P group? I first came across P&P via a local campaigner in Worcester. The best thing about being in a P&P group is seeing the plans you’ve been making, often many weeks before, finally actualised. P&P meetings are often a lot of talking and planning and I think it’s fulfilling and motivational for people to see all that planning and preparation making an impact and a difference to the world around them.
With many commentators suggesting that apathy is rife amongst young people, what can be done to engage young people in the campaign for social justice? Yes apathy is rife but you can’t open the papers or switch the news on without coming across an environmental and social justice issue so I think people are becoming more aware about the problems but just feel helpless to do anything. The issues are pretty depressing to think about too. I think it’s a matter of demonstrating to young people that as individuals they can make a difference - that their actions do have an impact and make a difference - especially when they join forces.
Also, it’s reinforced into us that we should get a good education, get a well paid job, buy a nice house, the latest iPod etc. so I think it’s also a matter of getting young people to not always accept things how they are and to challenge the way society in the West reckons we should live - there are other options!
What do you think is the most pressing issue in the UK today? Climate change, climate change, climate change! Any other issues, whether on a domestic or international level, will be even more difficult to deal with if we don’t tackle the issue of our changing climate and the impact we’re having on it.
What was the last film you watched? Ummm…Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban…everyone needs a bit of escapism now and then!
Where would you most like to visit? Ireland or Scotland - I’ve seen very little of the UK despite travels elsewhere and as air travel isn’t very sustainable a ferry trip to Ireland would be quite nice!
What are your ambitions for the future? To practise what I preach. I’d like to try and live as ethically and sustainably as I can, living simply but having just as rich a life.