National Trust Bank Better – Drop Barclays: Let’s Protect Our Future Together

I’ve always admired the National Trust for its unwavering dedication to preserving our precious landscapes and historic sites. As a member, every visit to their beautifully maintained properties is a reminder of their commitment to conserving the very essence of Britain. That’s why it’s so disheartening to learn that the National Trust continues to bank with Barclays—a financial giant that undermines the very principles of conservation we hold dear.

Barclays is currently the largest funder of fossil fuels in Europe. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016, Barclays has pumped an astonishing $235 billion into fossil fuel companies through bonds, loans, and share underwriting. This financial support not only facilitates the ongoing exploitation of fossil fuels but also bankrolls the expansion of pipelines and oil projects, which are the antithesis of a sustainable future.

As I delve deeper into the issue, it becomes clear that Barclays’ actions are in stark contradiction to the urgent calls from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA has stated unequivocally that there must be no new fossil fuel developments if we are to achieve net zero emissions by 2050—a target that is crucial for the health of our planet and future generations.

Seeing the National Trust associated with Barclays is troubling. How can an organization devoted to protecting the beauty and integrity of our countryside continue to align itself with a bank that funds environmental destruction? It’s a juxtaposition that doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m sure many of you feel the same.

We have an opportunity to influence positive change. By urging the National Trust to sever its ties with Barclays and choose a banking partner that aligns with our values, we can take a stand for the environment. There are many financial institutions that prioritize sustainable investments and support initiatives aimed at creating a greener and more sustainable future. These are the institutions that should hold the funds of the National Trust.

The National Trust has always been a beacon of leadership in the UK charity sector. By making a conscious decision to bank with institutions that are committed to sustainability, the Trust can set a powerful example. It’s about more than just money—it’s about showing that we, as a community, will not support businesses that harm our planet.

I believe that our voices can make a difference. I encourage you to join me in calling on the National Trust to bank better by dropping Barclays. Together, we can ensure that our contributions to this beloved organization are used to promote a future where our countryside and heritage are preserved, not just for us, but for generations to come.

Let’s rally for a change that reflects our shared commitment to a sustainable and beautiful Britain. Sign the petition today and let’s take a stand for the environment we cherish so much.

Sign the Petition: National Trust Bank Better – Drop Barclays

Matt Bianca

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Buddhism in Britain

“Buddhism in Britain” is a four-part series exploring how Buddhism has evolved in the UK, featuring insights from Dr. Caroline Starkey, a sociologist of religion at the University of Leeds. Starkey’s work focuses on how Buddhism intersects with British society, examining its history, cultural adaptations, and current trends.

Introduction to Dr. Caroline Starkey’s Work

Dr. Caroline Starkey, an associate professor at the University of Leeds, studies how Buddhism fits into modern British society. Her research spans diverse areas, including the Chinese diaspora, women in Buddhism, and community practices. Starkey’s work is shaped by her ethnographic approach, which involves direct engagement with Buddhist communities.

Series Overview

  1. Colonial Beginnings:
    • The series starts with how Buddhism and British society first met during the colonial period.
  2. Post-Empire Dynamics:
    • It then explores the experiences of Chinese Buddhists in Britain, especially after the British Empire’s end in Hong Kong.
  3. Modern Trends:
    • The series concludes by looking at contemporary Buddhist practices in Britain, from secular mindfulness to how social class affects Buddhists today.

The Evolution of Buddhist Studies

Traditionally, Buddhist Studies focused on ancient texts and artifacts. However, there is growing attention on living Buddhist communities, both in historical Buddhist regions and in the West. This shift highlights the importance of studying how people practice Buddhism today, rather than just its historical roots.

Britain’s Role in Buddhism’s Modern Spread

The UK has a deep history with Buddhism, influenced by its colonial past and ongoing postcolonial dynamics. Understanding this relationship helps explain how Buddhism fits into today’s rapidly changing, post-industrial society. Starkey’s expertise provides valuable insights into these complex interactions.

Dr. Starkey’s Interdisciplinary Approach

As a sociologist, Starkey’s research covers various aspects of Buddhism in Britain, including gender issues, community practices, and the experiences of British converts. Her notable works include a national survey of Buddhist and Jain buildings and her book, Women in British Buddhism: Commitment, Connection, Community.

Navigating Personal and Professional Identities

Starkey, a practicing Buddhist, grapples with balancing her religious identity and her role as a scholar. She believes that it’s important to acknowledge how personal perspectives influence academic work. This dual perspective enriches her research and provides deeper insights into the communities she studies.

From Asia to Britain: A Personal Journey

Starkey’s background, growing up in various Asian countries surrounded by Buddhist practices, gives her a unique perspective. She contrasts this with her experiences of Buddhism in Britain, which often felt foreign compared to the communal and ritualistic practices she knew from her childhood.

The Ordinary in British Buddhism

Starkey is particularly interested in the everyday practitioners of Buddhism—the “rank and file” who sustain its practice. Her research often focuses on these less prominent figures, exploring how they contribute to Buddhism’s presence and evolution in Britain.

Changing Spaces and Practices

In recent years, the way people engage with Buddhism in the UK has changed significantly. With the rise of the internet and the impacts of COVID-19, many now participate in Buddhist practices online rather than in physical spaces. Starkey notes that this shift is leading to a more individualized approach to spirituality, moving away from traditional institutions.

Matt Bianca


“Buddhism in Britain” traces the journey of Buddhism from its colonial introduction to its current form, shaped by modern technology and cultural shifts. Through this series, Dr. Starkey sheds light on how Buddhism has adapted and continues to evolve in the UK. The next part will delve into Buddhism’s roots in Britain during the era of empire and trade.

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How to BE the Change We Need: A Guide for Mindful Political Engagement

In today’s divisive political climate, it can be challenging to navigate issues without losing sight of our core values. This is especially true for those of us who practice Buddhism and strive to maintain mindfulness, ethics, wisdom, and compassion in all aspects of our lives.

Richard Winter’s book, How to BE the Change We Need, offers a thoughtful and non-partisan approach to thinking about political issues through a Buddhist lens. Richard emphasizes that being a Buddhist doesn’t necessitate aligning with a particular political ideology—whether left-leaning or right-leaning. Instead, he advocates for a mindful and compassionate engagement with politics, recognizing that the political sphere is an integral part of human nature but also a potential source of polarization and suffering.

As Buddhists, it is crucial to engage with political matters directly and wisely, using our practices to mitigate suffering both within ourselves and in the broader world. Richard’s book provides a clear framework for how we can do this, encouraging us to stay true to our principles while thoughtfully considering political issues.

We believe that a campaign to encourage people to read How to BE the Change We Need would be immensely beneficial. It’s not just about promoting a book; it’s about fostering a mindful approach to political engagement. By reading and applying the insights from Richard’s work, we can all contribute to a more compassionate and understanding world.

Let’s take this opportunity to delve into How to BE the Change We Need. It’s more than a book on meditation and politics; it’s a guide to engaging with the world thoughtfully and compassionately. Whether you’re new to political engagement or looking to deepen your understanding, this book offers valuable perspectives that can help you stay connected to your practice while addressing important issues.

Join us in this journey of mindful political engagement. Read How to BE the Change We Need and discover how you can contribute to positive change in a way that aligns with your values and principles.

Matt Bianca


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