Zak's Global Generation Story
Zak has been involved with Global Generation since 2008. In collaboration with the charity he is developing a green space at the Regents Park Mosque in Central London.
My role at the Skip Garden is…I don’t really have a role. I come in and out, help out. It’s really liquid. There’s no title. How did I find them? It’s more they found me. It was a work experience programme and I was put forward for Global Generation and ended up really enjoying it. It really spoke to me.
I think the Skip Garden really captures what Global Generation stands for and what they want to work towards. It’s really about bringing young people into the environmental scene without sounding like environmentalists. At the same time how do you bring businesses and communities towards environmental issues in a way that doesn’t come across as preachy or “educational”?
The Skip Garden is a space for reflection. I think what makes it different is the location or maybe it’s just the vibe. It’s really unexpected; a garden space in the middle of a construction site. It really encapsulates that ethos of bringing people together.
My special memories are the workshops with the big companies, the companies that usually work in offices and tight deadlines and often have a closed mindset. Not because they are closed people, it’s just the environment they work in makes them think in boxes. Coming to this space, it’s really amazing to see them open up, open up to new ideas, open up to new conversations. It’s just the transformation I enjoy. Seeing people in a short space of time feel a bit more confident and relaxed and more optimistic about the future.
The Skip garden has helped me to understand people and it’s given me the space to explore, so I’ve done a lot of photography and videography. It’s given me the confidence to be calmer and more relaxed about my abilities. I was quite shy before and lacking in self-belief but now I’m more relaxed and confident. I’m not afraid to take on new challenges.
The project I’ve started through the Glabal Generation is to build a green space at the Regents Park Mosque in Central London. It will be like a little garden. I see the Mosque as a great space for people to learn, not just about Islam and the environment but also about each other.
It feels like we are really disconnected from everything. Not just the environment but from ourselves, from our friends, from our neighbours and colleagues. The garden will be a space for us to come together and burst the bubbles we live in and create a bigger and better community. Hopefully the garden will be a platform, a catalyst for conversations and a place for learning.
I really think the Global Generation helps young people to be themselves and gives them the space to take that first step or be brave about standing up and speaking out for the things they believe in. Outside the Skip Garden it’s very easy to speak out, or to be against something but how do you translate that into action?
My learning and my education with Global Generation has been very subtle. It hasn’t been “environment this and environment that” or “gardening x, y, z”. It has really given me the space to explore, to get to know people and to get to know myself. I do have dreams of coarse but I think my ambition now is just to “be”, not to think too far ahead and take one step at a time. It sounds like a real cliché but in essence I want to feel confidant and have an Islamic lifestyle that’s very ethical. That’s my goal.