Happy New Year! In the first week of this shiny new year, we are hearing from seven AFON members on their hopes and plans for 2017.
“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy” William Blake
2016. It is a year that will go down in history, but I highly doubt it will be for positive reasons. Last year saw huge political upheaval; our societies came to blows and left many feeling uneasy about what future they’re facing…
For nature, things weren’t all that good either. Budget cuts, the loss of European support, the ‘death’ of the Barrier Reef, the damning State of Nature report…it felt like one piece of bad news after another. Only time will tell what our future will hold and although the world might seem dark right now, I believe we must come together to try and salvage what we can from the ashes.
For me, 2017 will be about the next generation. Recently tasked with the job of devising new education packages at work, I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to teach children about the importance of our natural world. Alongside this, January sees myself and a small team release ‘New Nature’; an e-magazine written, produced and edited by young people, for young people. Through projects such as these, I hope to reach the next generation and cause that spark; the thing that encourages them to really care –be it a word, an experience, a suggestion or a photograph.
The damage we have caused to our environment from years of abuse is becoming more apparent every day, but it isn’t too late to change things. Our future is held in our hands, which is why I believe talking to children about the importance of our natural world should be top of our priority list. We need to teach children to really love wildlife, because humans always fight tooth and nail to protect the things they love, and right now that is what our environment needs; people who are prepared to stand up for it and look after it in the way it truly deserves.
I hope more than anything, to be able to show the next generation how nature is in everything we do; from the clothes we wear to the food we eat, we rely on it in every aspect of our lives. I understand that it is unlikely that the words I say will affect all of them, many will grow up, as most of us have; reliant on technology, always looking for what will make the day to day tasks easier, a disposable society who don’t consider the long-term impacts of the little choices made each day. But if I can plant seeds in just a few of their minds, then hopefully they will reap the rewards in the future and help stop the destruction from continuing.
The chaos that has been caused by previous generations is monumental. Many feel as though it is too late for them to change. But the one thing that older generations can do is ensure that bad habits are not passed down. It is our responsibility to teach young people that they can be the future, and although it is a heavy burden they are being handed, by working together, hopefully we can ease a little of the damage that has been done.
Cormorant (c) Alex Pearce