West End Debut for the (Plastic) Baglady

Social innovation can be simple, and singular … at least at the outset.

Shirley Lewis had been a journalist and broadcaster, had practised acupuncture and homeopathy before her concern for the environment led her to the simple – if personally challenging – idea of the Baglady. Not a carry-all-your-possessions-in-bags sort-of baglady, but a Plastic Baglady.

In order to highlight the problems of litter and waste, first in Australia and then in her native Ireland, Shirley dressed up in plastic bags and adopted an ASAP lifestyle. That’s As Sustainable As Possible. From that¬† flowed lots of appearances, films and – coming soon – a play. In this video the Baglady visits Cookstown. More here at Baglady Productions, and on blip.tv.

I connected with Shirley through Richard Jolly, who ran webcasting for the 2gether08 Festival, and who told me Shirley would be coming across to London this weekend (by bus and boat, of course) in order to make her West End Debut. Shirley and two other speakers are talking about Ending World Waste, at 7.30 pm on Monday September 1 in Covent Garden. Details here.

I’m fascinated by the extent to which one person can be as effective – maybe more effective – as many “official” campaigns on reducing waste and adopting sustainable lifestyles, so I called Shirley up and recorded an interview which you can hear below. It soon sensed that behind the simple idea lay a great deal of creativity combined with the ability to connect with people very directly, using the bags as a conversation starter. Listen to Shirley and see what you think, and if you can, do come along and meet the Baglady in person on Monday. I’ll be doing some video, but I sense that the live performance will be well worth watching.

Click arrow to play.

Update: I’ve posted video of Shirley at Stanfords here.


  • August 29, 2008 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    David & Shirley – great interview, thanks for sharing it here. I won’t be able to attend Monday, but I hope to spot Baglady somewhere in the West End, this weekend.

  • August 29, 2008 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    David & Shirley – There are so many individuals striving for a sustainable future. Baglady is tackling the issue with a particularly outstanding approach.

  • August 30, 2008 - 7:45 am | Permalink

    She sounds a wonderful woman on an inspiring mission. She seems so approachable and ‘real’ – how can she fail to convey her message?

    I’m wishing her all the best with her vision

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