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Lewes bonfire night celebrations 2017 marks Guy Fawkes Night and the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, and remembers a group of Protestants burned at the stake in the town between 1555 and 1557
7th November 2017

The GOOD List #38

- words by Laura

From a super-eco toothbrush and a housing scheme run by group of badass women to a Brazilian guitarist and the Lewes fireworks, this week’s GOOD news is an ice cream sundae of all different flavours. Grab yourself a spoon and tuck in.

Jodi’s GOOD News

My GOOD news this week is my new toothbrush. It's an ecological, biodegradable, compostable, non-GMO, plastic free, rainforest alliance compliant, zero waste, vegan and cruelty-free toothbrush! It's such a small item, but let's take a look at the amount we throw away every year with regular use, and it becomes an issue. Generally, it's advised to change your toothbrush every three months, which means that a small generic family of three bins a pound of plastic per year in toothbrushes only. These toothbrushes do not biodegrade throughout our entire lives. They will outlive our children. This particular toothbrush is made entirely from bamboo, even the bristles, usually manufactured from some kind of non-recyclable plastic are made of bamboo charcoal infused nylon4. I purchased mine from www.zerowaste.market who use 100% eco-friendly merchandise, entirely zero-waste packaging, local suppliers where possible and also carbon-neutral delivery.

Jodi's new toothbrush

Dorothy’s GOOD news

Last week I went to see Gilberto Gil at the Barbican. My friend Dora bought me a ticket as she did a Masters in Ethnomusicology (world music) so is always buying tickets for gigs I wouldn't find. Gilberto Gils is a Brazilian guitarist and singer but also political activist and was Brazils Minister of Culture between 2003-2008. There were loads of Brazilian people there and at the end the huge 2000 seated auditorium was on its feet dancing, clapping and singing along. It was an amazing spectacle and seeing live music at the Barbican is always such a treat.

Brazil’s iconic singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil

Jess’s GOOD News

OWCH (Older Women’s Co-Housing ) is a community of 20 or so women with varied backgrounds who are all over the age of 50 and live alone but share ‘a determination to stay as self-dependent and active’ as they can as they get older. They live in a new, purpose-built block of flats in High Barnet, N. London. Seventeen of the flats are purchased on 250-year leases and the remaining 8 are for social rental. The landlord for these assured tenancies will be Housing for Women (www.hfw.org.uk) in partnership with OWCH.  

‘We are carving out a path for others in our age group to follow,’ OWCH says of its mission. ‘We hope they have an easier journey than ours, now we have shown the way. The senior co-housing community could enrich the last years of many, and reduce pressures on health and care services, if local authorities, planners, policy makers and housing developers helped to remove the many obstacles society puts in its way.’ Good vibes | More info here

OWCH is a group of women over fifty who have created our own community.

Laura’s GOOD News

I’m still hyped from Lewes bonfire night celebrations – where the good people of Lewes mix their deeply held Guy Fawkes night traditions with a good helping of political satire, civil disobedience and fire-based peril. This year was a particularly special one as one of the seven Lewes bonfire societies, Borough, finally made the decision to end the practice of blacking up after pressure from both local and international groups. To explain a little bit about why it happened in the first place, each bonfire society has primary and secondary costumes that they wear each year – Borough’s is Zulu Warriors. Although this is meant as a celebration of the resistance of this South African people, understandably the accompanying blackface was offensive to many. Instead of shrugging off complaints (Sussex’s motto is ‘We wunt be druv’ after all), this year Borough engaged with activists and relevant communities, before committing to abandon the practice in favour of colourful paints and patterns. Members of a dance troupe from Kwa Zulu-Natal were invited to chat with Borough about their concerns and their culture, before everyone joined together for the parade. Listening to the deafening blast of bangers punctuate traditional Zulu signing was an emotional moment for me and all concerned, and Borough ended its fireworks celebrations by symbolically throwing a tin of black face paint into the fire. Yes, black face shouldn’t be something we even have to debate in 2017, it’s completely unacceptable whatever the context, but this year felt like a triumph for the power of listening, engaging with the views of others and changing traditions to make them enjoyable for all. | You can get a feel for the chaos of Lewes on this excellent ‘In Pictures’ feature from the Guardian.

People carrying torches march during the traditional bonfire celebrations in Lewes. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA.

Not enough GOOD news in your life? Check out last week’s picks here.

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