Since I dived into the freelance world full-time in 2021, it's been part of my mission to help make a positive difference to our planet through my PR and copywriting services. As well as working with organisations that are dedicated to protecting our ocean or having a positive impact on the world, I've also tried to make sure I'm also giving back in other ways.
As we wrap up the tax year (which is the timeframe I use to track my business' impact), I wanted to reflect on the little actions I've taken this year and whether they've added up in the way I wanted. I hope you enjoy this April '21 to March '22 recap...
Giving back... by supporting clients that match my ethos
In 2022-23, I worked with 12 wonderful clients and publications including: Guide Dogs, National Geographic, The Guardian, Madagascar Whale Shark Project, South Tyneside Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Vice.com, Global OTEC, Bonsucro, MacAlister Elliott & Partners, Boost magazine, TIDE magazine and Popcorn PR.
I love working with clients and on projects that align with my ethos and passions. Here's to more of that for the Ocean Writer Ltd (my newly incorporated limited company) in 2023 and beyond too - if you're an editor or organisation in need of a writer to help with (marine) conservation storytelling I'd love to hear from you!
Giving back... through my time
I also donated 12.5 days of my time in total supporting some great causes through pro bono consultancy, volunteering and citizen science:
- Providing comms consultancy for the fab team at the Madagascar Whale Shark Project
- Helping WWF identify walrus from space (as a citizen science)
- Taking part in The Shark Trust’s Great Eggcase Hunt by recording mermaids purses found on my beach walks
- Responding to my first call out with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)
- Providing PR consultancy to Walk for Earth
- and running a PR consultancy Power Hour session for MARINElife
- I also donated blood twice this year.
I was pleased to exceed both my target (five days) and the amount of time I spent providing pro bono and citizen science support in the previous year (7.5 days).
& a reminder that if you're a small marine conservation charity in need of pro bono support, click here to find out more about my pro bono process.
Giving back... through donations
The 2022-23 period saw me announce Project Seagrass as my chosen charity. Each month, I donate 1% of my income to the charity via Work for Good. My donations during this period were enough to fund around 1,962 seagrass seeds!
I also made ad hoc donations to support a few causes that are important to me, meaning I supported 8 amazing charities over the year (including £30 in donations via WeWard):
- Bowelbabe Fund
- British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)
- Eden Reforestation Projects
- Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
- Project Seagrass
- Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
- Sussex Seabed Restoration Project
- THE OCEANCY
This meant that I donated 1.2% of my income to good causes (VERY slightly up from last year's 1.1% - hopefully I can improve this more next year).
For 2023-24 I will be continuing to support Project Seagrass as my chosen charity with (I expect) a few ad hoc donations to causes close to my heart.
Giving back... by planting trees
I also try to do my bit by planting trees. I use Treeapp to plant a daily tree and I planted 365 trees over the past year (thanks to push notifications to remind me!)
I'm also a member of the Ecologi Climate Committee. I get a small payment for attending the monthly committee meeting which I invest in planting trees in my Ecologi forest. That meant I was able to add 429 trees to my forest in the past year.
And, lastly, I made around 10,000 searches via my default internet browser Ecosia which equates to around 187 trees planted during the year.
I also started using the refoorest extension and planted 182 trees.
Overall, that adds up (I think, maths is not my strong suit!) to 1,163 trees planted!
Giving back... through my website
I use a green hosting provider (Green Hosting) which uses renewable energy from North Sea wind farms and has an energy efficient London data centre, try to keep my website size down and regularly delete emails to reduce my digital carbon footprint.
Giving back... by pledging support and signing petitions
It's important to me that I show my support by adding my voice to causes that I care about. From 2022-23, I signed 35 petition (that's 20 more than the previous year when I added my name to 15 petitions) and contacted my MP six times (up from two the previous year).
Giving back... by sharing my expertise
This year, I've started sharing Tiny Sustainability Tips every Tuesday on LinkedIn to help encourage people to make small, achievable changes that can become green habits. I shared my expertise on a handful of podcasts too - if you'd like me to speak on yours, please do get in touch!
Giving back... by making better choices
I do my best to make responsible choices wherever I can. I don't have a car so that one's easy and when I need to travel (for work/fun) I try to be mindful of not flying where possible and using public transport if I can. When I do book flights (for example I went back to Mozambique last year), I add some trees to my Ecologi forest to offset the journey.
I also educated myself this year and became certified as Carbon Literate - hooray!
Giving back... by improving my policies
It's nice to see the year in a snapshot and I'm proud of what I have been able to achieve. But the work is always ongoing so now I will be taking some time to think about how I can improve as The Ocean Writer Ltd dives into the 2023-24 year. I'll keep my policies and impact pages up to date in case you want to check in. And of course I share my monthly recap each 1st of the month on LinkedIn.
What else should I be doing? I'd love to hear your thoughts so I can improve further.