It has been a long time since my last #anewageinspiration interview, almost a year in fact. In order to reinstate the interview series back on my blog as a somewhat regular feature, I thought it would be fitting to interview my friend and definite new age inspiration Tolly, of the blog Tolly Dolly Posh.
Starting her blog at 11, Tolly is now 19 and her blog has grown up with her, in more ways than one. It is now a hub of advice for sustainability and her work outside of writing has cemented her as an eco-activist with a powerful voice of change. In a climate emergency, one needs to speak out and raise awareness of the issues that matter and Tolly is doing just that and more. Her GIF afterwork centred around the climate, conscious consumerism and sustainability are so widely used that you have added them to your Instagram story without realising that she is the illustrator behind the artwork. Tolly’s recent activism with Extinction Rebellion brings a new age to the efforts to the efforts that need to be done to combat climate change.
Tolly Dolly Posh started as a fashion blog but what first inspired you to start making a change to the way you bought clothes/shared about them online with a more sustainable stance?
I had a lightbulb moment after watching the True Cost documentary, which focuses on the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse which happened in 2013. I never really knew what truly went into making the clothes I was buying, so, I realised after watching it that I couldn’t just continue business-as-usual. I needed to not only change my own habits (no matter how gradually) but also educate my audience on the same issues. Using your platform for good is so important to me.
If you had to pick one piece from your wardrobe (or a whole outfit lets say) that inspires you what would you choose and why?
I love any and all of my suits. I only have 3 (a vintage Versace red number; a vintage mint green wool number and a dark blue satin one) but they’re such strong outfits in themselves and they bring me a whole new level of confidence when I wear them. I also have a vintage Jaeger blazer in a bright green colour which I adore. I wish I had a matching pair of trousers because it gives me a similar feeling.
You’re an inspiration for a lot of people, especially given what you’ve achieved at 19 but who inspires you in your activism?
Why thank you! I think anyone who is putting their life or freedom on the line, is an inspiration to me. Although I’m an activist who goes out onto the streets and sits in front of rows of police officers, I’m not comfortable in the idea of getting arrested (yet! – never say never, and all) but I know people who have been arrested 3 times already and are truly going as far as they can in order to instigate change. And then, of course, you have those on the frontlines of true devastation, like indigenous peoples and tribes who are literally fighting for their lives every day as their land is taken from them in acts of ecocide.
On a similar vein, who inspires you in day to day life and why?
I’m terrible with these sorts of questions – I’m not entirely sure how to answer or how to pick just one person.
With regards to your recent work with Extinction Rebellion, what would be your main piece of advice for those who know nothing about the work that they do and want to know more/get involved?
I always find it interesting to get asked these sorts of questions because Extinction Rebellion (XR) is non-hierarchical, which means I am “they”. But in simple terms, XR is a movement (or a “rebellion”) based on mass civil disobedience and non-violent direct action in order to create change in the face of the climate emergency. Mass civil disobedience is essentially, a mass of people using their right to protest peacefully whilst refusing to comply with certain laws in order to so. For example – one action which might be taken (alongside others), is road blocking which causes disruption to business-as-usual.
The 3 core demands of Extinction Rebellion in the UK are – 1) Tell the Truth (the Government must declare a Climate Emergency; 2) Act Now (the UK must reach a net-zero emissions target by 2025 and 3) Beyond Politics (a Citizens Assembly with legislative power must be held in order to decide on how to achieve climate and ecological justice).
And no – you don’t have to get arrested to be a part of XR! There are so many roles which are needed, whether it’s a social media coordinator or even a chef who prepares food for activists. It’s so much more!
If you had to give one sustainable living tip to the people reading this post, what would it be?
Use your voice! We all know not to use single-use plastic bottles by now (well, we should do – there’s a bonus one for you), so, let’s use our power as individuals and send a message to those in power and to those who should be protecting us! This is an emergency! Get out there! Shout it from the rooftops! Meet with your local MPs and representatives!
I’ve spoken to you about taking a step back from your blog and taking a more active offline role with regards to Extinction Rebellion, where do you see your online platform going in the future and is there anything exciting in the works for Tolly Dolly Posh?
I honestly don’t know, right now. It’s a strange place to be, in terms of wanting to balance activism with other work which could keep me afloat more sustainably. I’m just seeing where it’s going right now and finding the balance along the way.
It is always a pleasure talking to Tolly and to interview her for my blog as well. Her Instagram is @tollydollyposh if you wanted to follow and keep up to date with her work, activism and transparent talks on all things sustainable. #anewageinspiration and more.