Keep calm and plant a seed !

I hope you enjoyed reading last week’s post about a greener garden and maybe you feel inspired to grow more of your own fruit, herbs and veg.

This week’s blog is based on what we’re planning to grow in our garden this year.

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Time to ‘shake some action’!

On Friday, I took part in a second school strike, where millions of young people from all over the world came together to protest about climate change.

Whilst the school strike aimed to draw attention to the effects of global warming and the fear we have as children for our future, the planet and its wildlife. I’m keen on what actions we can take as individuals, to help play our part and for me, there’s only one place I need to go….back to the garden!
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Youth Strike 4 Climate – ‘Cause Young ‘Uns are calling out and we live for our future!

It’s over a week since I took part in the Youth Strike 4 Climate and it’s taken me just as long to come down to earth. Let’s just say, I’ve been tired ever since!

That day was a turning point for me, a day that I will look back on and say I stood up for what I believe in, I was there and I did something about it.

Why do a school strike for climate change?

I was inspired to strike by the climate activist, Greta Thunberg. My Mum showed me a clip of her speech on the news and I was blown away; I was like, ‘I want to be a part of that’ and strike together with other young people.

Going on a school strike for climate change isn’t something that I chose to do lightly and I’m fully aware that it certainly divides opinion. Some people don’t believe in climate change, they think it’s part of the earth’s natural cycle; whilst others consider striking from school as truancy/blagging a day off! My school, fully supported me and gave me an authorised absence and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

I can get that time back at school, but if we don’t take action, we can’t get the polar bears back, the ice caps back and prevent the seas from rising.

Banner Design

Having a banner at a protest is really important as it gets your message across! London Calling by The Clash became my theme for the strike. It’s one of my fav songs and I’m always playing with the lyrics to reflect stuff that is happening in my life.

My Aunty Claire was given 5 mins notice to work on it, with a brief of ‘use The Clash album cover, but replace the guitar with a symbol of destruction and here’s the words to use‘.

Four hours later it was done – it’s pretty cool eh !

Radio Manchester

It was a bit of a crazy morning to begin with; it started with a 7am appearance on the Chelsea Norris BBC Radio Manchester, Breakfast Show, where I was asked, “what I was hoping to achieve by striking?”, to which I replied,

“people need to wake up to the fact that kids do care about things, kids want to see real change…and for politicians to see, that a change needs to happen”

You can listen to the interview here at 1:17mins (expires 15.03.19)

BBC Breakfast TV Interview

Literally next door to BBC Radio MCR is the BBC Breakfast Studio, so it was a quick dash to make-up (yeah that’s right, make-up) and then me and my Mum were mic’d up and ready to go live on air, which was absolutely nerve wracking!

Claire Perry MP ( Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) was also being interviewed.

I had mixed feelings about the interview; whilst it was great to be interviewed about the climate strike, on such a well known news programme, I didn’t feel I got much of a voice and that the MP dominated the interview. I posed a question to her:

“What actions are you taking to reassure my generation about climate change, because we are the ones, who are going to live with your decision?”

Like a lot of politicians, she spoke a lot and her response wasn’t very accessible to kids!

BBC Social Media Interview

A quick interview took place by the BBC social media team, they described me as a   Climate Change Campaigner – I like that! Here I urged the government to take action as it’s us kids who will bear the brunt of climate change; I feel it’s one of the biggest problems facing us in the 21st century.

Meanwhile back at St Peter’s Sq

We left Media City and headed over to St Peter’s Sq; we were a little early so we chilled in the historic Central Library for a while. About an hour before the protest, you could sense the build up as people started to arrive and come together, with powerful and creative messages on their banners.

Amongst all the hustle ‘n’ bustle, I was interviewed by a journalist from The Guardian, which enabled me to speak up about the impact climate change is having on wildlife.

CBBC Newsround

I’d say my fav TV interview of the day was for CBBC Newsround; the filming team were so cool and knew how to work with kids! Here, I talked about my inspiration to strike, Greta Thunberg and how I wanted to do my bit to save the planet!

You can watch the 19second clip here

The Protest Begins

It was quite a small gathering at first and then it was like The Cavalry arrived as the student protest from Manchester Uni marched in  shouting, “what do we want, climate justice, when do we want it, now” and I felt like I was part of something proper.

Speaking up

And then it was time for me to do my speech and I can’t begin to tell you how nervous I was; by then there was perhaps 1000+ people in the crowd and it took a lot of courage to speak. The crowd were so behind me and it was incredible to be with so many like minded people, who were all as passionate as me about saving our precious planet.

Here’s my speech:

I’ve been asked if I wrote this myself – I most certainly did. After having an initial conversation with my Mum and Dad about climate change, I rattled it off; tho we did the London Calling re-wording together.

Lizardfish TV

Thanks to Amee and Matt from Lizardfish TV for filming and editing the speech, it really captures the vibe and emotion of the day!

I really enjoyed being part of the protest and once my speech was over, I just joined in with the crowd and became part of it.

There was a bit of negative stuff online about the protest, but I ignored it, we’re all entitled to our opinions!

To shut some people up, who thought us kids travelled there in our parent’s 4×4’s and SUV’s, well here I am going home on the tram!

It was such a long, tiring, emotional, adrenaline fuelled day that I promptly fell asleep!

I’d like to thank the organisers for doing such a great job of bringing such a monumental event together – it was totally epic and one I’ll never forget.

The next Global Climate Strike For Future is 15th March 2019 

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The winter weather has wiped me out !

I’ve had the dreaded winter bug this week and it totally wiped me out. All I can say is, thank heavens for Grandmas, books, scrabble and Dr Who on iPlayer!

Today though, I nipped outside to water my carnivorous plants and it was nice to feel a bit of sun on my face!

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It’s all about the birds, in the greatest citizen science project in the world !!

Being involved in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch campaign has been a big deal for me this year.

Filming the TV ad, being interviewed for the podcast and posting on my social media sites, have all been amazing opportunities and I have to say, I’m gobsmacked by everyone’s amazing comments.

Binn Green @ RSPB Dovestones

Binn Green is a little gem of a place just up the road from me; where the wildlife is concentrated in one place and the garden birds are just fantastic. You see wildlife there that you don’t see in your everyday garden. Me and my Mum thought it would be great to hold a small community birdwatch and contacted the staff at RSPB Dovestones for permission. Funny enough, it was staff at RSPB Dovestones that signed me up as a junior member years ago.

We met up with Miriam, the visitor experience manager, a few days before, to go over all the details for the event and here’s the thing, it just shows how open to ideas the RSPB are, because the staff were so helpful and sorted really important things out, like the toilets (and believe me, for my mum, they are at the top of the list!)

On the day the weather forecast was dreadful, but what do they say, the sun shines on the righteous!! Well it wasn’t quite sunny, but it was dry and you can’t ask for much more in January! We had hot brews for everyone, with fairtrade hot chocolate served in compostable disposable cups. Grandma brought the most important thing, home-made cake! Miriam and volunteer intern, James came in the RSPB van, armed with spare binoculars and spotter sheets. It was a laid back event and well, we just watched the birds, had a chat, walked around, it was really relaxed.

Members from People First Tameside came; my Mum works there and it’s for people with learning disabilities. For some, this was the first time they had ever done anything like this before. It was important that people were warm and dry and that is was a positive experience, so that they would try it again in the future.  One of the members has size 14 feet and needed some wellies; Mum put a post on Facebook and a few phone calls later, success. Check out those shiny black beauties – covered in mud in seconds!

Some of the kids from Young Operation Farm , my cousin, Francesco and a friend from school came. It was great ‘cos the adults gave us freedom to roam, so we walked together down to this pond area a few times. We all ‘mucked’ in serving brews too.

And here’s what we saw blue, great and coal tits, a nuthatch, goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins, blackbirds, robins, dunnocks, a GS woodpecker and a lesser redpoll. Dave (I think he’s the boss) had the briefest glimpse of a brambling and I was a bit gutted I didn’t see that. But I did have the ‘spotting’ of the day, a mountain hare!

38 people came to the event and not forgetting the 3 dogs – Bella, Buddy & Bailey – who joined us too!

My Aunty Claire led a #BGBWSketchalong check out this vid, well cool and she thought it was rubbish!

Huge thanks to Miriam, Dave and James at RSPB Dovestones, we all had a fantastic time!

At home

The next day, me and my Dad did our own BGBW looking out into our back garden from the comfort of the back bedroom.

We saw 6 sparrows, 2 x great, 2 x blue and 1 x coal tits, a wood pigeon, a GS woodpecker, a nuthatch, sparrows, 4 x jackdaws and a robin.

We prepped like a boss, with a brew, some Jaffa cakes and notepad. I think it’s one of the best BGBW ever, with some brilliant species.

There’s just one thing I need to do now…..

SUBMIT my results !!!!

Taking part in the BGBW has been a fantastic experience and of course it doesn’t mean you just watch birds in January, you can do it anytime. For me, there is a certain feeling with birdwatching, where the beauty and awe of the birds doesn’t just go through your eyes, it goes through your heart.

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How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch ??

A few weeks ago, the RSPB asked me to help them with their Big Garden Bird Watch advertising campaign – what an amazing opportunity – I didn’t have to think twice!

The TV advert was released on Boxing Day and then later on YouTube; I feel really honoured to be part of it. I was also interviewed for January’s Podcast, what a fantastic start to the New Year !!!

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The 12 Days Of Harvest – Merry Christmas Green Fingered Fans

Well, Green Fingered Fans, it’s been an interesting year for us gardeners. With not one, but 2 blasts from the Beast from the East and then a few months later the garden was torched, with a hot, dry summer.

As we come to the end of the year, I’ve made up a daft festive song, celebrating the harvest and later in the blog I’ve wrote some of my RHS Young Ambassador Highlights.

How’s your garden grown this year?!?!?

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