No matter who you are, every single person can make a difference and help nature. In this post we’d like to celebrate some of the small steps we can all take to hold decisionmakers accountable and reduce our own environmental impact.
Robyn Shaw, RSPB Inner Forth Reserves Project Assistant, has been running ‘Nature Lockdown’ activity sessions with her cousins Sioned (12), Ruairí (10), and Eloise (8). Robyn’s idea stemmed from her understanding of how important it is for young people to be connected to the outdoors. Here is what she said about the Nature Lockdown:
“As I had spare time I wanted to help my family out with home-schooling and make sure the kids were learning and connecting with nature during lockdown. I asked if they would be keen and all were very excited. As we all lived in different parts of the country it was a nice way to connect (virtually) and have something different to look forward to each week. The ideas of each session were either inspired by the RSPB Wild Challenge, my own ideas or the kids ideas.”
Through connecting with nature, Robyn’s cousins have become motivated to make their voices heard and wrote to their local MPs asking for environmental protection and education. “I would like to know what you are planning to do about climate change and protecting our local environment” asks Ruairí in his letter. Writing to MPs, councillors, and other influential people is a brilliant way to engage with decisionmakers, particularly for people not yet old enough to vote.
We interviewed Ruairí, Sioned and Eloise to find out more about what motivates them to push for change, and the everyday choices they make to live in an eco-friendlier way:
What is your favourite wild place? Why?
E: The woods because there is a lot of nature there to discover.
R&S: The walk next to our house where you go past stables and woodland. We have been so much and know every nook and cranny! Also, the woods and grasslands next to the leisure centre where we enjoy the good weather.
What have you done to help nature?
E: Water the plants and pick up litter.
R&S: We bought biodegradable glitter as normal glitter has plastic and can harm animals, and we pick up litter too. We like to cycle instead of using cars, including a 10km loop into the hills and down. We also built hedgehog homes to make habitat and went on a climate march- chanting loudly to get our message across- and we like vegan and vegetarian food, so had vegan chicken burger after.
Ruairí’s hedgehog home
How did you do it and what are your top tips?
R&S: Buy biodegradable plastic and don’t litter. Take other means of transport such as walking and cycling. Eat less meat and make other food choices like dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. We learnt about biomimicry in Nature Lockdown- using plants and animals for design inspiration- like the kingfisher for bullet trains in Japan and the burr plant for Velcro. We can’t pay nature so we design something to help it instead.
What is important to you? Does this affect your work helping nature?
E: That the animals stay healthy.
R&S: Technology like phones so we can talk with friends and family. Helping animals is important too, it’s our responsibility to take care of nature. The Titanic is like the Earth, it’s beautiful but due to human error it sunk. If humans keep using fossil fuels and plastics it will become a big rocky ball with no life left on it in the middle of the solar system. Just as the titanic is a rusty wreck at the bottom of the ocean floor now.
What (or who) inspired your project?
R&S: Nature and Nature Lockdown
How does your project make you feel?
R&S: Happy we were doing Nature Lockdown as felt lonely during lockdown as couldn’t see family and friends.
What are your worries and hopes for the future?
E: Worried that lots of animals will die as can’t find enough food. Hope that everyone can save nature.
R&S: We’re worried about ice caps melting, water level rising and being too hot for fish, coral dying, and flooding. Countries like Holland will become a lake and Amsterdam will become Atlantis.
Right now, we’re hoping for coronavirus to end and an amazing invention to suck CO2 out of the Earth and nuclear power stations banned so we use reliable and safe power. We'd also like rainforests not cut anymore and an invention that means you can eat animals without hurting them.
Who do you think can save nature? What would you like to say to them?
R&S: Us. Our generation. We want everyone to be passionate about it. Protest is made up from mainly young people. We are living through it, so we want to protect it as it is our future.
Sioned at a climate march
What do you think stops people being closer to nature?
R&S: Phones, TV, and technology.
Do you think it is easier or harder for young people to change things? Why?
E: Harder as adults don’t listen to kids all the time.
R&S: We can’t vote but children should be able to vote as it is our future they are deciding. We sent emails to MPs about if the environment could become the curriculum in school as we are worried about the climate crisis. We talked about plastic worries in the ocean.
R: I had to follow up as I didn’t get reply (despite saying they will get back after 2 weeks) and received a reply 3 months later. Geoffrey Cox reassured me it is a high priority and I was happy with his reply.
S: I recently sent a letter to Alex Cole Hamilton. We don’t get to vote, so why would we be heard? We want to start our own children’s political party for Government.
Eloise enjoying some autumn leaves
If you want to do your bit to help nature check out our Wild Challenge for some inspiration for your own nature activities to do at home or at school!
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