Sky Born Voices with Jamie Bristow

Sky Born Voices with Jamie Bristow

"Raising voices of planet-positive changemakers who are working towards a more brilliant tomorrow."


Introducing Jamie Bristow

Jamie Bristow is an expert on inner development and contemplative practices in public life and co-author of the Reconnection: Meeting the Climate Crisis Inside Out report. He leads on public narrative and policy development for the Inner Development Goals and explores the role of inner work in climate action for the Climate Majority Project. For eight years, he was clerk to the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness and Director of the associated policy institute, The Mindfulness Initiative.

What was the moment you knew you had to dedicate your time to your cause?

I was working for a climate change campaign back around 2010, and like many campaigners around that time I became disillusioned with the ‘information deficit hypothesis’ - the theory that giving people more facts about the crisis would lead to widespread action. I looked at myself and asked why I went from working in advertising, making TV commercials for brands like Nissan, to volunteering and then getting a job in an environmental NGO. I realised it was my mindfulness practice, the greater sensitivity, awareness and care that I had been developing, that helped the same facts about the state of the planet land differently in my heart and mind. I then knew that there was a missing piece of climate action that hardly anyone was talking about - the inner qualities and capacities that we collectively need to cultivate in order to better turn the ship around.

How do you keep motivated when it feels one step forward and two steps back?


I’m in touch with thousands of amazing people each working on amazing, game-changing things. Individually, these projects might seem trivial but when you start to see how they interrelate and all form part of a bigger picture you get this sense of emergence and epoch-shifting power. The odds of avoiding climate and ecosystem breakdown seem insurmountable much of the time, but I am buoyed by all the creativity and love that seeks a different path. I act because it seems right to do so, irrespective of the most likely outcome, and I’m motivated by the beauty of my colleagues doing the same, each in their own way.


What does a diamond represent to you?

My first boss had a picture of a diamond above her desk accompanied by the phrase ‘pressure makes diamonds’, which has always stuck with me. The extraordinary times we live in call for an extraordinary response. And as hard as it is for us to live through it, the need to develop our collective response ability will likely create an extraordinary generation of people.

What would you say to Mother Nature if you could shout it up to the Sky?

Don’t give up on us yet.

Who or What are you currently most encouraged by that will help us deliver a more brilliant tomorrow for people or planet?

There is currently no one person or project that I’m more encouraged by than the mass stirring of the public psyche towards deep change. In many ways we need to get over our need for heroes, for outside salvation. We need to see the heroic potential in all of us, the potential that’s there in the human spirit when it counts. Every little action has infinite ripples – so you matter more than you think. And now, in this first truly global crisis, everything counts - as Margaret Atwood says, “it’s not climate change, it’s everything change”.



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