In this week’s interview, I’m delighted to be talking to Georgina Wilson-Powell of pebble magazine. In short, pebble magazine is the antidote to consumerist media. The digital magazine makes heroes of permaculture gardeners, food waste foragers, and organic skincare gurus without any hippy connotations, and certainly no goop-worthy claims.
I’ve been a big fan of pebble for a good few years now, and my love for the magazine and its weekly newsletters was cemented after a few people recommended the site to me. It seems when someone hears the phrase “ethical writer“, they immediately think of Georgina!
Georgina and I certainly run in the same circles, but she presents her articles with a pinch more professionalism and an accomplished career in journalism. She inspires me with her to-the-point pieces, and how she’s built a media business that showcases ethical businesses, people, and practices suitable for all.
1. What sparked your interest in pursuing a more eco-friendly lifestyle?
Quite a few different things came together two years ago in order to launch pebble to be honest. I have been interested in organic food and sustainable farming for a long time and almost left publishing all together to go and be a homesteader or farmer. After spending six years living in Dubai and flying all over the world as editor of a travel magazine, I saw first-hand the damage both plastic waste and climate change was doing everywhere in the world. I realised I didn’t want to live and work in a way that was different to what I believed was right.
I have always been inspired by stories around innovation in different industries and love hearing about people who are moved to invent something that tackles an environmental problem and I wanted to help celebrate them and share their stories.
Since I launched pebble in November 2016 I’ve made quite a lot of changes in my own life – it’s not realistic to swap overnight but I haven’t bought anything fast fashion for nearly two years. When I need clothes I either save and buy from an ethical brand or look for something secondhand. I try and eat mostly vegan or veggie at home, support small businesses where I can (especially around present buying and Christmas) and have stopped using single-use plastic most of the time – supermarkets are still tricky though.
2. How did you start pebble, and what are the challenges in creating ethical media?
I launched pebble on a gut feeling that the world was about to change. The stories I cared about, from new plant-based materials like pineapple leather to amazing eco-hotels, weren’t getting picked up by national press and I felt very frustrated that ‘being sustainable’ was deemed to be boring. I wanted to change the narrative to something more inspiring and help people make more ethical decisions in their everyday lives – from buying a new coat to understanding why slow fashion is important – or why it matters what we put on our plate.
There’s a huge challenge in creating any media of quality but I believe no one does what pebble does and brings the whole lifestyle – of food, fashion, travel and design together like a weekend newspaper supplement and has the same strict ethics that we do.
Our biggest challenge is ensuring every brand we cover has the same ethos that we do and we’re a tiny team but we do our best. It’s been amazing to see the growth and the journey of pebble already – we have a huge, loyal audience and as more people switch onto the fact that a) we have to all be more sustainable and quickly and b) it doesn’t mean sacrificing your style or comfort – we’re getting a huge new audience.
3. I love your guides, and particularly your sustainable city guides! Where will you be featuring next?
Thanks very much! The pebble guides are the sustainable city guide series you’ve been waiting for. They round up everything vegan, eco, ethical and awesome in a city – from bike paths to breweries, vintage shops to volunteering opportunities.
Brighton is next for this year and then we’re planning on four cities next year. We’ve been overwhelmed with the impact we have through pebble and are looking to grow our team so we can bring more guides out!
4. Who inspires you to keep writing, and who should we all be following?
Oh so many people. Partly the people who email us and tell us we’re changing their lives or tell us they’ve done something differently because of something they read on pebble. We’ve even started getting handwritten fan mail!
I find inspiration from so many individual people that we come across running the site, from the family behind new documentary Down to Earth (who spent a year interviewing tribal elders and ‘earthkeepers’ to pass on their wisdom and encourage people to tap into nature more), to ethical fashion brands who are changing the game with plant-based materials, to podcasts like Low Tox Life.
At the moment, Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Lizzie Carr, a paddleboard athlete who paddled the length of the Hudson River to record microplastics in the water, and Natalie Fee, who’s helping to radically alter how we drink water on the go (through the new Refill app) are massive inspirations.
In terms of people to follow, I think Ethical Hour is an essential starting point. Plus come and join us in our Facebook community, the pebble pod, where you can meet other people just like you – who want to help stop wrecking our planet. Jen Gale is a fabulous sustainable vlogger for people with families – and Curiously Conscious of course.
5. Finally, do you have anything exciting coming up at pebble HQ that you can share with us?
Yes! Well sort of. We’re busy planning something super special for next year that we can’t announce just yet. But it’s awesome.
Aside from that we’ve got some truly brilliant interviews and how to guides coming up. We also have our first ebook available for free – 21 ways to go zero waste and we have another of those coming up soon.