Plastic With Purpose

[About the author: Clare Furlonger is Marketing and Communications Manager for LeapFrog Investments. Clare was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in Oct-Dec 2018, and wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

If I were to light a cigarette in the central London office where I work, would it be ok?

It’d be pretty absurd right? I mean for one, I don’t smoke. But more to the point, it’s illegal. And more than that, it’s really socially unacceptable. We know the harmful effects smoking and second-hand smoke have on our health. And because of this, employers have a responsibility to prevent employees from smoking at work.

But this wasn’t always the case. 20 years ago, banning smoking in the workplace was considered a ‘radical’ idea, because smoking was everywhere. You could smoke not only in offices but in schools, in restaurants, on planes, in shops, in cinemas, in bars and pubs, in hospitals, on buses and trains, everywhere. It was normal. Just as using plastic is normal. It’s in all the places I just mentioned. We don’t even realise, because we are so conditioned to it surrounding us.

Don’t get me wrong, plastic is an incredible invention that has revolutionised the world and how we live. It has its purpose. But like smoking, plastic is harmful. To our health, economies, and the environment.

On the Path of the Climate Change Threat

[Note on the author: Sally Wang is an operations manager and coordinator, living and working temporarily in London though her family home is in the USA. She was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in Oct-Dec 2018. Sally wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Heatwaves, floods and drought are striking us more frequently than expected. Our actions will determine our future and fate. Are we prepared?

Why are California’s wildfires so hard to fight? And why do farmers in Iowa have no water for their corn? Why are people seeing their insurance rates go up? It is clear that the impact of climate change is growing. But what is causing these changes? And how does the rising temperature affect the environment, and our lives?

A group of prominent global climate change scientists at the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) have been exploring this issue for decades. And their recent climate change report gives more explanation.

Franciele Cunha Unsplash Couple Mountaintop

Social Costs? Four Reasons To Spend Less Time Online

The irony of the title of this blog is not lost on me, given the piece is intended for broadcast on social media among other places. Even the structure of it, you could say, is ‘blogg-y’ – X ways to do stuff. Pop will eat itself.

A few weeks ago we spent five blissful days in coastal Suffolk. The bliss was prompted, partly, by a decision I took to leave my tablet at home and only check my phone once a day for emergencies. Sally’s (non smart) phone was also available to adult children on both sides. And as it happened the wifi didn’t work, so she couldn’t access her chromebook either. We were device-free. Time slowed and life richened.

But the lessons haven’t been learned. We’re back home and more online than ever.

And despite the joys and amusement and insight I get from many, most, of my lovely online friendships, life overall seems no happier for it.

Is it time to take the lessons of five days of RLO (Real Life Only) and recalibrate more comprehensively? It’s risky saying that kind of thing on social media, where you’ll be held to account. Actually that’s part of the point, a personal manifesto of sorts: shoot me if you see me here.

But first a brief look at the four ways my social costs are getting too high.

Clear Business Writing For Editors: #SfEP2018 Workshop

Despite their facility with language, professional editors and proofreaders sometimes find it hard to translate their editorial skills into their own business writing.

Many editors are brilliant writers in their own right; hardly surprising given the close read-across between the disciplines. Still, editors – being editors – are also prone to insecurity about their writing: even some of the best, in my experience.

The workshop I led at the #SfEP2018 annual conference at Lancaster University aimed to give editors some guidelines and tools to improve their business writing confidence: whether they’re writing emails, letters, CVs, reports, reviews, summaries, websites, blogs, articles, policies or other documents.

Impact and engagement are at the heart of all business writing: we want to avoid our reader ‘swiping left’ on our content, sending it forever to the virtual dustbin. We want our writing to have an impact, an effect, to get someone to do something or think in a particular way. It’s not necessarily to educate or entertain. We have an objective, an aim, in every piece we write.

That’s what distinguishes business writing from other forms of writing. And we are actively trying to avoid disengagement as well as achieve more positive impact.