Visionaries: George Marshall
1st April 2009
George Marshall didn’t feel like a visionary at the time. His was an idea born of frustration, and he had no idea where it would lead him.
We create change not by telling people what to do, but by helping them tell their peers what they have done.
In 2000, Marshall, an environmental campaigner, moved to Oxford and into a small 1930s ex-council house that was sagging under the weight of decades of dodgy DIY work. Having dedicated his professional life to combating climate change, Marshall decided his house should become an extension of that aim. After all, he could hardly make it worse.
What surprised him was that this first step led to a dead end. He could find hardly any information on environmentally friendly renovation, and what he did find was too hippy, too technical or assumed he was building from scratch. Without a guide, Marshall and his wife Annie became pioneers, pulling together what advice they could and making the rest up as they went along. In case anyone wanted to follow, Marshall began putting what they had learned up on a website.
‘I thought I could write a book about it that no-one reads, or I could write a book that I then spent the next five years trying to publish,’ he says. ‘Or I could just stick it up on the internet. The magic of the internet is that you get results.’
Today that website – The Yellow House – has had about 650,000 visitors and provides a wealth of tips,...
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