Diary Entry: Turning Negative to Positive

Diary Entry: Turning Negative to Positive

Throughout the years my mother has asked me repeatedly to stop what am doing as I’d injure myself and burn myself out or at least reduce my activity. I told her I’d do what I can whilst I have this energy.

By the end of 2019 I was burnt out! Burnt out from cycling to & from events; being the Sustainability Panda; & burnt out from organising the sustainability part of the Singapore Marathon. Returning back to the UK at the end of December, was smacked on the face by xenophobic speak and the negativity of Brexit. This angry world became entangled with my head as I tried to comprehend how a country that was so proud to be able to integrate with different cultures during the Olympics could so quickly become narrow minded. But perhaps the weary body had weakened the mind to be susceptible to negativity. After all, the body and mind are interlinked plus throw into the mix the onset of menopause….hormonal havoc!!! The spirit needed quiet to calm the mind and body.

As I sought to regain an inner peace, the Runner’s World podcast team sought me out in January for a last minute “would I talk about what I do on a Podcast”. The ego agreed, but when the time came to speak, the mental fatigue pounced in and a lack of confidence buzzed around about why I was speaking in the first place. In my head, the recent words of someone had repeated in my head “you can’t change the world”, after a meeting with a bunch of older adults (60s onwards) who worked like a pack of wolves waiting to eat the weak. Gotta say Runner’s World you did a great job to make sense of my garbled responses.


By the end of January 2020, the Coronavirus became headline news showing that if the world wanted to change it could, when faced with fear of an infection that would has health effects that could lead to death.

Image result for coronavirus
Image source: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/379494-coronavirus-lagos-begins-identification-process.html

It has been fascinating to observe governments preventing flights from certain countries enter their country; mass events being cancelled, companies asking employees to work from home and societies taking measures to change habits to combat a direct impact on health. The Coronavirus has shown that governments, companies and societies can take big steps if they feel directly threatened.

Perhaps this virus was made so that societies can begin to see the environmental deviations due to pollution and how those deviations affect mental & physical health. The silver lining of the zombie apocolpyse reaction to this virus is creating a slow down of the economy with reductions in both manufacturing and travel. Sure “stuff” will become more expensive, and that is a good thing as we will value and take more care of the “stuff” we have. The bigger gain is having a reduction in pollutants in our air and water. I can only imagine the people in Beijing suddenly realising what clean air smells like and hope they will want more of it!


With China showing they can take big bold actions to protect the world by reducing production and create city wide quarantines. Will the rest of the world especially the rich countries be able to respond likewise and faster when faced with the same situation?

Sometime in February, Colin (a running buddy) sent me an image in Runner’s World, March edition. Thank you to Jen & Sim Benson who did a wee interview on Twitter some months ago and for Colin sending it over. It is time to get back into the world to continue the fight for our environment. Before I do, am adding strings to my bow: learning about ISO 14064 to verify, validate and audit green house gases, as well as add further knowledge from the ISO 14000 family.

So now for this year….. Last year a number of small events in the UK said they would go cupless this year and Geneva & Nice-Cannes Marathons, also mentioned they would go cupless in 2020. I will be on your case to make that commitment assuming you continue to run your events and the coronavirus has been abated….hope you will take further action to remove the single-use rubbish you are generating. Surely at this time people taking sips from a bottle/cup and then dumping the rest of the contents on the floor will have to change as this will risk spreading further disease!

Finally, remember the first in the triage of sustainability is REDUCE and REUSE. Recycle when you have done the first 2 as much as possible. Hope to see more people becoming stewards for our natural environment. Our world needs you.

Sustainability Messages for the Singapore Marathon Participants Nov 2019

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