Niellah Arboine

Niellah Arboine is a writer, editor and broadcaster born and raised in south London. She is an original member of gal-dem and the deputy editor at Where the Leaves Fall. Niellah has written for the likes of Vogue, Guardian, House & Garden, Vice and Time Out London. She has contributed to Daunt Books’ In the Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing, and was shortlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize 2021 for nature writing.

Describe the nature around you at the moment

I have lots of houseplants, probably too many and I’m lucky enough to have a little garden and currently, my tomatoes are thriving! My cat also likes to curl up and snooze in the flower beds.

What lessons have you learned from nature?

Mainly to slow down, and release control over things I can’t change. I feel like living in such a fast-paced world, there’s always something keeping me distracted from myself. Nature and growing has helped me refocus and pause.

Which song, book or poem nurtured your relationship with nature?

I love the song ‘We Might As Well Dance’ by Madeleine Peyroux. I think sometimes it feels like so much is going terribly wrong, including with the environment - it can all seem so hopeless and futile, but this song reminds me that you can still see the joy and beauty in the world while fighting for a better one.

Name a TV series, film, podcast or documentary that blew your mind.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a beautiful film about a remote community in the Mississippi river delta trying to survive through the effects of climate change and flooding (based on the events of hurricane Katrina). It mixes surrealism with themes of family, environmental racism and classism told through the eyes of a six-year-old child.

Name a place where you feel most at ease.

At my grandma’s house nestled in the mountains in Jamaica, sitting on her roof drinking coffee.

Which rituals do you practise to keep you grounded?

I journal, I’ve been writing in diaries since I was about 11. I think it's a wonderful way to process your thoughts and emotions without judgement.

Is there anything you're curious about right now?


What kind of ancestor do you want to be?

One that reminds you to laugh and find peace in slowing down.

What initiative have you heard of that you'd like everyone to support?

Right to Roam, they are campaigning for the Right to Roam and free and fair access to land throughout England.

Could you suggest someone else or other organisations you admire that we could approach for #TheNatureKind

Gardener and writer Claire Ratinon, her book Unearthed came out earlier this year.

You can find out more about Niellah and her work on her website and Twitter.

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