On a chilly Friday evening, Bob Bollen was expecting at least two members for company at Kingston Hive, a climate emergency centre close to Kingston Station, however, neither turned up due to ‘other commitments’.
He does not mind as he appreciates that balancing support for a cause with urgent life matters is not easy.
The Hive will celebrate it’s anniversary on December 19 and Bollen is in a reflective mood.
“In the beginning, there were a lot of people turning up every Friday, but with time the numbers dwindled.
“A majority of existing members are over 50 years old, hence we are planning to reach out to younger cohorts in a strategic way.”
Bollen explained that in addition to providing a space to share ideas and concerns regards to the environment, the Hive’s weekly activities also promote sustainable living.
Among its initiatives are Stitch, Don’t Ditch, a weekly workshop to sew and reuse torn clothes. Another is The Honey Pot, a weekly clothes swap programme where one item can be picked up free and others can be bought for a small donation.
Bollen draws inspiration from other community initiatives such as Tarun Bharat Singh (TBS), an NGO in India that addressed issues of water scarcity by supporting village communities to revive traditional water managements systems and construct johads, a type of storage tank.
The message of how collective action can yield positive result “is the sort of thing I want to show [through this example],” Bollen said.
Opening the climate conference in Dubai recently, King Charles said he hoped COP28 would be “a critical turning point” towards avoiding ecological disaster.
Kingston Hive, like countless environmental organisations, is determined to continue their efforts however the retention of the space for future activities is uncertain as the contract with Kingston Council is due to expire.
Despite that, Bollen is optimistic: “We are making plans to use other places. In the meantime, we will continue to operate as a virtual organisation.”