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International Women's Day- Building a NFP & community led organisation

Hannah- Founder (right) & Becky- Activity leader (left) at The Harborne Green Village Fete where Eco activities were hosted for free to the public

Written by Hannah- Founder/ Director of Wild Earth Movement

On this International Women's Day, we celebrate the spirit of resilience, creativity, and empowerment that defines women worldwide. As we reflect on the strides made towards gender equality, it's a poignant moment to share the journey of myself building a non-profit business dedicated to positive change for the planet through communities, families and individuals. On IWD we commemorate the achievements of women past and present and recognise the impact of collective action in shaping a more inclusive and equitable future for all. I’m excited to share this journey with you all and I hope it inspires you to reach for your dreams regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or any other barriers standing in your way. I asked a member of the team to come up with some questions for this content so below you will find out all of my answers! Enjoy!

What is Wild Earth Movement?

Wild Earth Movement is an environmental not for profit organisation which aims to inspire people to make positive changes for the planet. We have a strong focus on waste reduction. Our actions are very varied and we like to think of Wild Earth Movement as a community led organisation. 

Why, how and when did you start Wild Earth Movement?

I think of the start of Wild Earth Movement as a dream to be honest. It’s kind of insane how we got here. In 2017 I was tired of living and working in the city, long hours, a big social life but no time to stop and think. Like all great things that are born, this one started with sadness, a really low point in my life and heartbreak. It didn’t take much thinking really, I thought the only way out of this sadness was to run away so I booked a 3 month return flight to New Zealand and applied for a working holiday visa. I did it in my lunch break at work, and  when I got home and told my Mum and Dad, they were so angry and couldn't believe that this was really what I was going to do. (For context- my Mum has had quite a tough life, lost both parents, been kidnapped, almost died- she could be the subject of a movie, so she’s the kind of person that just deals with whatever life throws at her!).Anyway I went off on this trip of a lifetime, found love for myself AND for  the planet- something that I had never noticed before. I never thought about saving our natural world and was the kind of person who would only drink bottled water- never from the tap because…. EW! But, I had time to stop and look and appreciate life and being in New Zealand helped a lot, such rural untouched beauty!Fast Forward three months. I  didn't come home. Fast Forward 3 years and alot of living and travelling in other countries, meeting and volunteering with NGO’s in island communities and then Covid hit. I was sure I was going to deal with plastic pollution in Indonesia- that was my goal, when I came home I remember being like WOW- we have a problem here in the UK, we have infrastructure here to deal with it but we are doing a terrible job. 

I had no money when I came home from being overseas so I got a night shift job in a supermarket and spent my days planning Wild Earth Movements 3 year plan. Everyone I spoke to was like: “ sounds great but how is that going to be a job?”.  I knew I would do it- I was so passionate about it, there was nothing else I wanted to do. The first community event I ran was in July 2021 just as restrictions were lifted so people could meet outdoors. I organised a community clean up with coffee vouchers, seed paper cards and a prize draw. The community empowerment was just magical, I’ve not looked back since.

Was it easy to get started?

Haha! No! So hard and I hate to say it but quite boring! So much legislation to navigate, so many risks and health and safety documents. It was so hard to get going, you have to “build a brand”. If there’s a time that I would have given Wild Earth Movement up it would have been then. I put so much work in, so many hours, so much money! So I’d say I spent a year and a half building Wild Earth Movement up and prior to this 2 years of researching and planning before we even started with that first event. It was hard!!

Do you think being female has affected building WEM either positively or negatively?

I love being female, and I’m typically very empathetic and emotional so I think this has helped build WEM. I feel things that happen to the planet like they are happening to me, I don't know if that makes sense. I’ve had dealings with people that have tried to intimidate me, and I do think I’m sure they wouldn't speak like that to me if I was male. 

It’s an interesting question really  because all but 2 of the team are female and I’d say our audience is also predominantly female. We are doing a lot of work on this, working out why. Are women just generally more interested in saving the planet? I don’t think this is true, I just think the market is aimed at women and we’re trying to navigate this.

What message would you give to young woman who want a career in the environmental sector?

I'm kind of going to contradict what I just said above because even though I think women are generally more engaged in what we do I think the sector is actually predominantly male. There's a lot of outdoor work, IT etc. I’d say to young women that we need women in these roles, we need their passion, their determination and their empathy if we are going to save our natural world. Be strong, be brave, be resilient, we got this!

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