Bethia: I am especially excited about September’s Planet Action Kit - the theme is Speak Up and it’s all about using your voice. Greta Thunberg is probably the most prominent youth voice on the global stage for climate action at the moment. I salute her - what an incredible voice she has given to environmental issues.
However, when I began researching examples to include in our content I discovered that there are many, many more voices out there. Many of them are young voices too. These are exciting times! Our ‘Learn’ section focuses on Vanessa Nakate - a young Ugandan activist who is speaking up in front of world leaders for her community and her planet.
At Planet and People we take our responsibility seriously in the light of the fact that we are using our voice to communicate to a young audience - children believe more quickly than adults do and in many ways are a more vulnerable audience. It matters that we put time into considering what we are saying and how we are saying it.
We recently had a comment on our social media from someone who said we should be telling children more about the reality of the meat industry. I agree that we can’t bury our heads in the sand - there are some seriously flawed behaviours and practises that have become ‘normal’ to us in our society and most of us are walking around totally clueless to what really happens in order for us to reach for a neat, plastic-wrapped, inoffensive piece of meat in the supermarket. That is an issue that needs to be voiced.
However, at Planet and People, we have decided that our voice is going to focus on the positive. Not that we don’t think the hard news needs to be heard - it does. Greta has done a great job of telling hard truths without sugar coating. But our choice, for our voice, is positive. So, for our recent Planet Action Holiday Camp event, we did a scavenger hunt to look at the environmental issues happening in each continent (desertification in Africa, coral bleaching in Australasia, deforestation in South America etc.) but we also included the positive responses happening in each continent too (farmers in Zimbabwe adapting farming practises in response to local climate changes, Plant For The Planet which is an organisation planting trees all over the world on a huge scale, Adopt A Reef which connects people to reef ecosystems and uses donations to protect what is left of the Great Barrier Reef). We want kids to come to our events and leave with a feeling that there is a movement of action that they can join, rather than a sense of doom and overwhelm at the scale and reality of the environmental problems we are facing and will face.
With different personalities, backgrounds, audiences and experiences, it is worth finding your voice and giving it some thought - are you good at inspiring friends and family, are you good at explaining massive, challenging concepts to young kids, are you good at holding large corporations to account - whatever your voice is, use it! This message needs to be heard!
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 'Planet Action Kit', 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: Love, Observe, inVolve and Enjoy and are centred around matters of environment and sustainability. We run Planet Action Workshops at our eco-base in Devon where we develop the next generation of planet protectors using adapted materials from our Planet Action Kit.