FOR PLANET AND PEOPLE
Jess: Recently, we launched a bit of a social media challenge, to #lovetheearthinlockdown. We appreciate that Lockdown 3 feels particularly long and tiring. But we have also spoken to a few people who have enjoyed the slowed pace of life and the brain space to be able to stop and notice things about the natural world that they haven’t made a moment to do so before. There are loads of reasons for the shift in mindset; it might be that you have a lovely view from your home office, that you are currently out of work, that you have been home-schooling and been able to take the children out to show them some of the things they can find outdoors, or that the lack of possibility to socialise has left you a bit bored and wistful.
Whatever your reasons for noticing, there are plenty of things to have noticed.
Here are my answers to the #lovetheearthinlockdown challenge:
What have you Learnt from lockdown?
I have learnt all sorts of things, but the most notable is that nature carries on regardless. The patterns, the timings, the seasonal change, it all happens even if our lives have ground to a halt. For me, this is reassuring, nature is continuing unfazed and the passage of time will allow problems to come and go if we just carry on and be strong, helping those in need along the way.
2. What have you Observed during lockdown?
Although I haven’t necessarily felt less busy in lockdown, in the snippets of time when I have been able to explore with (or without) the children, I have enjoyed watching nature - seeing the birds on our feeder and beyond, observing the behaviour of the other birds when a lesser spotted woodpecker comes in for some seed, noticing the (semi) migratory birds like goldfinches charming their way along the hedgerows, the animal tracks that we see across the lane and wondering what they may be, seeing the new growth of early spring making a gentle appearance, feeling the breeze on my face, the first rays of warm sunshine on my back, the honking of geese as they start to return from colder climes.
Such a pleasure to see, I mean really see with all of our senses, what the natural world has to offer, the glint of hope, the passing of the clouds, the feel of the elements - it’s all there, we just need to allow ourselves to feel it, wherever we are!
3. What have you been inVolved in during lockdown?
In the first lockdown, I was all in a panic, the pandemic felt slightly apocalyptic. I could feel the world as we knew it slipping away and the path to the unknown rolling ahead, misty and ominous. I felt like there must be something I could do to help in our rural setting, to make sure that those in isolation are being cared for, that they have a community to turn to whenever they might need it. With the help of a few other villagers, we set up a sort of helpline, an email address and we distributed flyers around the whole village and surrounds to make sure no one was unseen. We offered shopping services, a voice on the end of the phone, food preparation, picking up prescriptions. Whatever people needed, we would try our best to provide. It certainly brought the community closer and meant that we had the infrastructure in place for the future. People had support if they needed it, and we could sleep at night in the knowledge that we were here to help.
As a few of my projects fell by the wayside due to lockdown restrictions, I needed to think on my feet. I volunteered with the Tiverton Tree Team so I could be involved with what the wider community was working on in terms of climate change and positive action for the environment.
Bethia and I had completed a workshop called ‘GROW’ with lots of kids to learn about veggie growing and sustainability as well as nature crafts, wildflower planting and exploration in the outdoors. We had planned a further, longer course to teach kids how to grow their own and it was planned that it would culminate in a feast from what we had nurtured over the previous weeks. Lockdown ended this pretty suddenly but we were fired up for our course so converted our ideas and energy to a subscription box instead, and that was the seed that grew into the Planet Action Kit!
4. What have you Enjoyed in lockdown?
I have found lockdown extremely challenging. As a sociable person, I’ve missed seeing my friends freely and having lots of people and places to visit. A lack of inspiration to find fun has been frustrating. However, there are lots of lockdown positives. I’ve connected with people that I haven’t been in touch with for ages, I’ve had a quieter diary so have been able to keep a more structured timetable to help me to make more time for work and more quality time for the children too.
I’ve connected more with our immediate surroundings than usual. Living in beautiful Devon, there are plenty of options both in lockdown and when restrictions are eased. Stunning places to go, walks in the woods, splashes in the streams, beach trips and garden hangouts. We’ve braved the elements and battled the mud to find small adventures to satisfy heart, soul and body in some mini-exploration. I’ve enjoyed spending distanced time with our neighbours and feeling the pace of life slow down as well as being more community-centred. An appreciation of a life stripped down to the basics has added some comfort and perspective too. What is it that we need? What do we take for granted? What do we enjoy about our lives and what needs to be ditched in the plan for the ‘new normal’?
Zoom has become an essential part of life - we’ve had quizzes with family who are spread across different continents, cocktail parties with friends from afar and casual catch ups and movie nights too. Being creative and innovative has brought a great sense of fun and achievement in lockdown times. We’ve set scavenger hunts and Easter egg hunts for our neighbours, had a ‘daily wave’ for those that need it and have thrashed out the ups and downs of life during a pandemic with those we care about the most.
5. What are your tips for being planet positive?
Take it one step at a time - make little differences bit by bit and focus on the positive things that you are doing and hope to do in the future. How can you be more sustainable this week? What change can you make next week to reduce your impact on the Earth?
Get involved in being part of the solution! Join a group that you think is doing something good that you’d like to be a part of. If there isn’t a group available, consider starting one of your own.
Get to know the natural world - you don’t have to know the names of
everything you see outside, but sometimes it is useful to just notice what there is around you at different times of the year, which bulbs are coming out, where there are signs of animals, what the trees look like, what might live in that hole, what the weather is doing and how it feels diff