Melanie West

I’m a nomad with too many possessions to be nomadic, a bee keeper and a writer. I’m inspired by the people I meet and the little moments of beauty I see around me. I’m pretty ordinary really.

Diary Calendar 2017

I shift about in my harness and peer over the edge of my tree platform. It’s nestled high in the boughs and moves easily in the cold February wind. I try to adjust to the motion and to forget that the sides drop away to nothingness below.

I am part of the Rising Up land protest that brought together a local community. We moved into unknown territory together, as we considered the outcomes of the Metrobus road development. Most of us were not seasoned activists. Many of us were nervous of what was to come. What bound us together was a sense that we were acting as a voice for the land, protecting precious soil, wildlife habitats and food-growing space. If we didn’t step up then who would? There was never a point when I felt ready. I just gave it a go. Acting locally, collectively and with a non-violent ethos made us strong. Offering only as much as we were able, to avoid burnout, kept us well. A weekly community circle held our stories and honoured the land.

Eventually we were evicted and now we are waiting to hear about potential long-term protection from development for the land surrounding our site. We have also contributed to the emergent groundbreaking Bristol Soil Declaration. We want Bristol’s green spaces to be valued by those in power for ourselves and for future generations.

Rising Up for the Land © Melanie West 2015