As this year comes to an end and a new one begins, it does offer us a time to reflect backwards and plan forwards. Each first day of a New Year offers an opportunity to start things fresh, make sincere commitments to do more of the good things and leave behind the behaviours and things that don’t work well for us and others.
I have had a couple of breathtaking moments this year that have truly re-awakened and renewed my passion that each day I live going forwards needs to be mindfully well lived to care more for nature and to support people to be the best they can be.
The State of Nature Report of 2016 revealed that in Britain, one in seven of our species of plants, animals and fungi is threatened with extinction and as Simon Barnes writes in the Sunday Times Magazine recently we need to do something about the ‘nature depleted tag’ and change things for the better. My take is that we need to listen to as much as we can, read and see as much as our eyes will open to, and do everything we can to make positive changes.
One in seven of our UK teenagers suffer with anxiety and depression and as our work here in the Foundation evidences, vulnerable teens and anyone for that matter, benefit positively from connecting to nature and building a kinship with the earth around us. The logic is there, it is just that we are killing the goose that laid the golden egg, and we don’t seem to wake up to the facts.
I attended an Eco-Psychology Workshop at the Eden Project in November and listened to the Rev. Peter Owen-Jones talk about the state of nature and our relationship to it. His words hit so hard I needed to be quiet for quite a while afterwards, and it still stirs a deep emotion in me when I think of it.
His message was loud and clear: we don’t have a lot of time to be polite anymore when it comes to the protection of nature and the mess that we make of things. He urged us to speak out clearly and strongly against injustice and harm, and to live in a way that makes a positive difference towards thoughtful and respectful living.
And then of course we had Blue Planet with Sir David Attenborough sharing the truth of the damage to the oceans in a way that affected the small and young to the older members of society. By demonstrating the indescribable beauty of Nature from its tiniest to its largest, the world collectively breathed in the wonder of the images collected by the film crew over the past four years.
Jenna our Education Officer reports on her primary school children being affected by the discussions in a positive way, opening their eyes to new thoughts and vision, and being able to talk about these things, because of what they witnessed.
Michael Gove is talking plastic, as is a large chunk of the community. The Royal Princes are leading on the plight of elephants and rhinos, and the urgent need for us to be educating and inspiring everyone to take responsibility for the planet. There is a buzz in the air – not just about bees – but a new awakening that we need to harness and keep driving forwards.
So within this next new year of 2018 I commit to reducing my use of plastic, not wasting food, to walking every day and being filled with gratitude for each small bird song, each flower that blooms, to give and receive with honesty and integrity, be kind to others, and to continue to be a worker bee to deliver messages and actions that will hopefully make a small difference to changing hearts and minds so we all gather to do this together.
Thank you for your support of our work and the team that give their all here at the Foundation and I wish you wind in your hair, the small of morning dew and a sense of joy to be alive.
Merry Christmas and Happy New year.
Year in Review: A letter from our CEO, Jo Roberts