a window into the GROWbox vision
Let's be the change we want to see!
Bethia: Jess and I have been thinking this week about our motivations for the GROWbox project. It’s good to know why you’re doing something to keep you going on the days when it’s uncomfortable and it would be easier to give up.
I am increasingly more focused and moved by the urgency to act on the climate change crisis. The more I hear, read and understand, the more I can’t see that there is anything more important or deserving of our attention right now. I loved teaching - I miss it a lot. But there was a lot that I had to cover in the curriculum that, to be honest, I didn’t think was very useful or even important (teachers aren’t supposed to admit that sort of thing!) Doing the GROWbox enables me to give all my time and attention to ‘teaching’ what I KNOW to be useful and important. Put simply, we have to live differently because the way we have done for too long is destroying the planet that we need for our own survival. Climate change used to be seen as a kind of optional add-on for tree huggers, but now it’s called a “crisis” and requires major action. Therapists are reporting more and more cases of ‘climate anxiety’ - we are worried, we are aware and we now know that we need to act. The GROWbox’s raison d-etre is to give parents ideas for actions that we can take to raise the next generation to do a better job than we have done.
GROWbox covers four themes… and not all of them are immediately obvious choices for a box whose aim is to enable kids to grow up with skills and values for addressing climate change. But let us explain:
Jess: GROW - We all know that nature and sustainability can contribute to a healthier planet, even if we don't act on it. There are many barriers to acting on it; complexity, lack of time etc. It’s not always easy to make the change. There are loads of things I am keen to “make the change” on myself . I am constantly learning how to make these changes for the better. We don’t need to strive for perfection, but betterment, every little thing you do to help the planet, really does help! GROWbox makes it that little bit easier to break down these barriers and help your children to get involved too. Sometimes it’s easier than you think! Being outside, even if just for an hour a day can really improve the mental and physical health of all your family. Not only that, you can notice things which you’ve not noticed before, discover creatures in your own little space or on a walk, learn and understand the natural world. We need a little understanding so that we know what we are protecting! We can even work together with our children to learn how to grow our own food and plants to encourage species which are suffering. This provides a whole lot of opportunities to discuss and learn (without them even realising it) and it can be loads of fun too!
B: BE WELL- Teaching kids how to care for and nurture their minds and bodies is an obvious step towards teaching them how to care for and nurture the planet. There are many connections between how and what we eat and the impact we are having on the environment - food miles, eating organic and local food are all messages we can get through under the Be Well umbrella. Jess and I, from our own experience, have found that when we have had ‘less healthy’ periods of our lives, our world view has shrunk right down to survival level. It’s not a criticism but totally logical - if you, or someone you care about is not well, then that is where your attention goes. Sadly, there are illnesses that are completely out of our hands, but lots of our health and wellbeing can be improved by our own efforts and lifestyle choices. If we are fighting fit in mind and body then we have the energy and mental capacity to act for the planet.
J: IMAGINE - Being creative is not just art and craft, it is a way of thinking. I came across this gem of a quote by G.K. Chesterton which says: “Morality, like art, is about where to draw the lines”. So true! Creative thinking is what we all need to work on this global threat. When we start thinking outside the box and building on what we learn to create solution-driven responses, this is where the magic happens, the insurmountable becomes possible. Challenging norms, trying new things and ways of living as well as indulging in creative activities as children is a way of starting, an opportunity to learn ways to improve, to be robust and make changes when things don’t work as we’d hoped first time. Creativity and the ability to imagine help future generations to be brave. The world is changing quickly, we need to be quick on our feet, flexible and respond accordingly. Go! Step into the unknown. Create. Explore. Solve!
B: CONNECT - Climate change is a global problem. It will need global solutions - none of us can afford to opt out. But the world is diverse - full of different opinions and values and viewpoints. Raising children who have great conversation skills, are good listeners and are able to hear and accept a different point of view with respect, will go a long way to tackling the climate crisis. Partnership and connection is going to be a key ingredient in finding solutions to our planet’s problems and therefore knowing how to cooperate and collaborate is part of solving climate change issues.
Here are six crucial ways playing outside benefits children:
This week, guest speaker Gracie Garland, a PhD candidate in Political Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh will be speaking with us LIVE on Facebook about "How to be good in a [climate] crisis"
GROWnings is a weekly blog conversation by "GROW together!" to reflect our values and behaviours and encouraging open conversation on topical issues.
‘GROW Together!’ is an educational resources and subscription box company to provide fun, personalised learning resources enabling engagement between parents/carers and their children. The activities focus on getting in touch with nature and encouraging a desire to protect it, promoting better mental and physical wellbeing, allowing space for creativity and connectivity. Find out more on our website, www.farleigh.org.uk/growbox, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/GROWboxDevon/ and on our Instagram Feed https://www.instagram.com/we.are.growbox/.