“I used to think that the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy and to deal with those we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that. – Gus Speth”
So today marks the end of #30dayswild and it has been so great to see so much enthusiasm for the natural world over the past month. I really hope that everyone who took part will make the connection between the minnows their kids caught in the stream and the washing up-liquid they drain down the sink. It is easy to think that as individuals there is little we can do to save the environment, but whilst we may have almost no say in fracking, or fishing quotas, or where houses are built, our power to make a difference lies in our role as consumers. Almost every decision we make has an impact on the environment and we can choose to take the least damaging option. Rarely, we can even choose to have a beneficial impact.
I want my children to grow up in a world where there are healthy ecosystems, with clean drinking water and clean air, so I use eco-friendly cleaning products. I want my children to grow up surrounded by bees and butterflies and wildflowers, so I buy organic whenever I can. I don’t want their world to be swamped with rubbish, so I recycle and use reusable nappies. I don’t want them to have to live through catastrophic climate change, so I walk when I don’t have to use the car. I imagine how much energy is required to create and transport every little crappy plastic toy that ends up in the shops and I avoid buying them as much as humanly possible. I don’t knowingly buy products with micro-plastics, or unsustainably caught fish and I do buy the most efficient appliances possible….The list could go on and on. Often, but not always, these choices cost more than the less eco-friendly alternative, but the issues are so important, I think it is worth it.
I don’t want my kids to be apathetic about the environment, so I show them the joy that it can bring. I teach them the names of things and I try to show them how everything is connected. I hope that by spending an hour every day outside, exploring the wild, they will learn to feel comfortable in the natural world and that they will care enough to try to protect it, too.
#30dayswild may be over, but in my family, we will be #stayingwild and I will continue to share our adventures on www.kidsinthewild.co.uk.