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!
In just these past few weeks, we have seen the effects the changing climate has had on our landscape. February’s weather was the warmest ever recorded, which has seen our magnolia flowering earlier than ever, whilst yesterday, half a month’s rain fell in one day, bursting the banks of our local river.
World leaders are the ones responsible for making big decisions, yet we can all take action in the garden for example; small steps can make a huge difference!
We can plant more trees
Plant trees, shrubs and perennials (native and non-native, although avoid invasive species) in the garden as they lock up carbon from the atmosphere and attract a wide range of insects and are a haven for wildlife in general.
We’ve planted lots of fruit trees and bushes in our garden, including apple & raspberry and loads of shrubs including mahonia, berberis and buddleia – all of which are fantastic for wildlife.
We can grow our own food
Grow, eat and buy local, seasonal foods – the more food you can grow yourself, the less miles it has to travel, which in turn reduces your carbon footprint. This year we have plans to grow onions, courgettes, leeks, sweetcorn, peas, shallots, potatoes, broad beans and beetroot in 3 raised beds, we have a small greenhouse, where we start our vegetables, herbs and flowers off from seed.
If you stagger your planting, you can have crops all year round. Take the purple sprouting broccoli, we’ve been harvesting that since Feb; there’s a crop that keeps on giving!
We can collect rainwater
Capture and store rainwater water in containers. We have just finished installing a new water butt at home that collects rainwater from the gutters; this is great for my carnivorous plants as they require rainwater.
My Dad has just took a water tank out of a house. He intends to make that into a rain butt. Proving you can use any storage device to collect water
We can compost our waste
Compost green & brown waste – compost provides nutrients for the garden and reduces landfill and production of methane. We have just built a compost bin in the garden, as the last one fell apart! Compost areas are a haven for different insects; they do some wonderful things to your compost and provide food for birds and bats.
We can plant pollinators
Plant lots of pollinator friendly flowers – we have Michaelmas daisy and sedum flowers in our garden, they provide nectar and pollen from late summer into autumn, when many other flowers aren’t around. Ivy is brilliant as it flowers in the autumn too, whilst also providing shelter for birds and insects.
We can reduce, reuse, recycle
Follow the simple messages of reducing and reusing in your garden – we are really resourceful with building materials and reuse all our garden stone and brick.
Recycling – garden waste, plastic, glass and metals – we have used old wellies to grow strawberries, we start peas off in toilet roll holders and grow herbs in a large colander.
Reduce the use of fertilisers and never use pesticides, herbicides or peat compost, as peat bogs store considerable amounts of carbon and support wildlife habitats. We practice organic gardening, which allows insects to thrive, it’s one of the most beneficial ways to encourage insects and natural predators into your garden.
We can spread the word
The Youth Strike 4 Climate was largely brought together via social media and there’s really a good community of ‘us kids who care’ about environmental and conservation issues.
At school I’ve spoken to the Head Teacher and the Food Tech teacher about the use of plastic in school and how waste is recycled
Volunteering with local community group, Young Operation Farmers, really helps too. Throughout the year we ‘pop-up’ at community events, where we run our own stalls. Our next community event is The Greenman Festival on 28th April, where we’re running a herb seed planting stall.
Thanks a lot for reading, and remember in order to change climate change, we all must change. If every one did their own little bit, we can change the world and yes you can save the world, even as kids. I will finish this blog with a quote from on of my favourite Harry Potter films,
“every great wizard in history, has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us?”
What will you change, for climate change?