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Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Last month was the hottest June since records began in the UK, and the dry and hot weather lasted longer than normal, affecting our wildlife and habitats, writes our Communications Officer, Bori Kiss.

Climate change is an enormous issue that’s going to be impacting all aspects of our lives and sometimes it can feel like we are powerless in the face of it. But any action is better than none and many individual small changes can have a large cumulative effect – whether it’s digging a garden pond, taking one fewer flight than last year, or writing to your MP about an issue you feel strongly about.

Climate change is also affecting our mental health. Crippling climate anxiety is especially afflicting young people, with 49% of 16-25 year-olds in the UK feeling very or extremely worried about climate change, according to a 2022 Kantar study.

Over a recent volunteering session, where students from St Paul’s School came and helped us create a sustainable drainage system along Rocks Lane, I was thinking about how important it is to give young people the feeling of having agency, of being able to change things for the better.

As a charity, one of our core undertakings is educating people, whatever their age, giving them tools to appreciate our natural world and help it flourish.

One of our new events this year was the recent Urban Woodland Craft Fair, showcasing the work of local wood crafters and artists, as well as the conservation work of our team. My children especially enjoyed finding bugs on the Common and bringing them to Bugman Jones to identify. They said “it was really cool, he was just like the museum curator in Animal Crossing”. This is high praise coming from them as they’ve spent countless hours playing that Nintendo console game.

Another of our new educational projects this year is the week-long Eco-Explorers Summer Camp, a forest school type day camp at the end of July where children aged 10-14 years will spend their week learning how to identify, record and understand wildlife on Barnes Common. I’ve already signed my children up – they are excited about finding out more about the bugs on the Common, and don’t even mind giving the Nintendo a rest.