Here I sit this International Women's Day #iwd2022 and think about all the strength and support I've been given by my closest women. I feel replenished, revitalised, inspired, just thinking about it - how lucky!
Bethia and I came up with the idea of Planet & People a couple of years ago, pre-pandemic, in a very different world. Sat on the soil watching our young boys playing, planting apple trees, our souls collided and our ideas melded - a workshop series was our aim and we got to work. Thinking that we could get something up and running quite quickly, how wrong we were.
Two years later and we are just starting to get our business moving, two years later and we are still trying to work out the best way forward, tweaking our approach, correcting people as they refer to our "little project" or our "work (in inverted commas)". Two years later and we have run many workshops outside, in schools, to home educators, teachers and for holiday clubs. Sometimes I wonder, but do not dwell, how two men in a similar position would have been referred to or treated. Quite different I imagine. Although we have avoided being referred to by the slightly queeze-inducing term 'mumtrepreneurs' or using our status as parents as a selling point, the balance has been real, the guilt at times overwhelming. It is not always smilers and happy filters. Being challenged by patriarchal attitudes, high childcare costs and exhaustion as we run around either for children or for work, we are grateful to our families for the luxury of support and love that they have given us, encouragement in all sorts of ways.
Recently, the Planet has been bruised by Covid-19, the aftermath of Brexit and now the threat of a third world war. We have re-directed our efforts, been put on hold by pregnancy and the arrival of little twins (Hamish & Alfie are ONE tomorrow!) and yet still we are just as passionate about the work that we do.
All this has made us even more certain that what we are doing is right, that we are at the very least working to keep environmental education at the forefront of the minds of as many young people as we can. These 'distractions', some tragic and some utterly life-changing, have only helped to focus the mind, to remember that climate change is a looming and mighty battle. Critical, daunting and essential for a bright future for human life on Earth.
We have delivered Planet Action Workshops to more than a thousand pupils in just a couple of months - how mind-blowing! Our 'Speak Up' and 'Hope' workshops have got students on their feet, celebrating the positive planet actions that they are already doing, thinking about how they can join the climate change conversation, writing about what they would like their future to look like, discussing sustainable living and recognising their strengths and how to use them for planet positivity. Next up, in the summer term, is our 'Environmental Healthcheck', a student-led eco audit for pupils to take responsibility for sustainability in their school setting. We're very excited for that to get underway!
One of the greatest privileges has been to connect with inspiring people across the region and beyond. Collaborative working is certainly the key to ecological restoration and for the human species to not only thrive but to be in balance with the rest of natural world. We have come across all sorts of projects and schemes that we are hoping to be involved with, pioneering people with commitment to a unified cause, unfazed by a lack of funds, unerring without an environmental education framework. These are a few organisations that are doing great work to communicate and take action for the environment:
UKSSN - UK Sustainable Schools Network.
There is so very much to be positive about. Our life-giving planet will live without us, but without a healthy planet we will not bounce back. Let's look after it in any way that we know how. Whatever differences we have, let's please work together, a unified approach.
If your school or business needs support in thinking more environmentally and taking positive sustainable action, please get in touch, we would love to help you.
FOR PLANET AND PEOPLE is a regular blog conversation by ‘Planet & People’ to reflect our values and behaviours and encourage open conversation on topical eco-issues.
We are the creators of the 'Planet Action Kit' and Planet Action Workshops, inspiring kids to LOVE the Earth. PAK is an educational resource and subscription activity box providing personalised learning resources engaging budding planet-friendly kids. The activities focus on the four main themes: Learn, Observe, inVolve and Enjoy and are centred around matters of environment and sustainability. We run Planet Action Workshops in schools and for large community groups where we develop the next generation of planet protectors using adapted materials from our Planet Action Kit. Find out more on our Website, Facebook group, and Instagram Feed.