What do you do when you see waste littering the beach? Do you leave it where you found it since you didn’t put it there in the first place, do you pick it up and carry it around with you until you find a bin or do you simply wish that there was a group event to help tackle such a huge problem? Well, I have great news Continue reading
Every year, I am honoured to be invited back to Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards. Last month, I flew back from Germany earlier than planned to attend the ceremony at London’s Continue reading
On 30 March every year, millions of people around the world switch off their lights for an hour at 8:30pm in a pledge to help save our planet. Some of the globe’s biggest landmarks get involved in the movement too, with Australia’s Sydney Opera House, France’s Eiffel Tower and Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle all going dark for the event.
Every year, on 22 March, people around the world mark World Water Day. This year’s theme is “Leaving no one behind” inspired by Sustainable Development Goal 6 – a promise that everyone shall have access to clean, safe water by 2030.
On our planet, at this very moment in time as you read this article, billions of people are living without the safe water they need to survive. By definition, safe water doesn’t just refer to whether it is clean or dirty; safe water is water that would be suitable for consumption, free from contamination and readily available on premises such as homes, schools and workplaces.
On 18 March, my article on last week’s climate change strikes went live on Rev. Rebecca Writes.
Both Rebecca and I have a passion for animals and the world we share with them, and it seems that thousands of others also share our enthusiasm in working to protect and conserve our planet for future generations. More than 2,000 protests took place around the world, stretching from North America to Asia. This landmark global movement was inspired by a 16-year-old’s passion and determination to take a stand and make her government listen.
Throughout my career in magazines, I have specialised in providing hundreds and hundreds of stories on the topics I am most passionate about – animals and the planet we share with them. Within the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that climate change stories have become more frequent and I would often find myself writing about them almost every single week.
Now, most people know that climate change is an issue because it’s unfortunately taking a negative turn. But what is climate change?
As previously mentioned, I would frequently write about the latest climate change news, often needing to include a clear and succinct definition that was easy for eight to ten-year-olds to understand.
I recently came across this helpful BBC Radio video, which explains exactly what climate change and our carbon footprint is in 90 seconds so thought I’d share it.
On 15 February, thousands of young people across the UK ditched school to take part in a climate change strike demanding that the government take immediate action in tackling the issue. Demonstrations took place in 30 towns and cities, stretching from Cornwall all the way to the Scottish Highlands. The campaign was inspired by the actions of a 15-year-old student from Sweden, called Greta Thunberg, who misses lessons every Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament.
I have always been a huge admirer of the inspirational primatologist that is Dr Jane Goodall. And over the years, I have been lucky enough to meet her on several occasions after being invited to her annual Roots & Shoots ceremonies in London – one of which I was honoured with the role of presenting the prizes alongside her on stage.
So when I discovered that National Geographic had made a documentary about her using footage from her first expeditions to Gombe in Africa during the 1960s, I couldn’t have been more excited to watch it.
In it, she talks about what she saw when she looked into a chimpanzees eyes. I remember the first time I truly looked into a chimpanzees eyes. It was at the UK’s primate sanctuary, called Monkey World in Dorset. It was the most incredible experience – watching him stare back at me, analysing every part of what he saw. But I felt this deep sadness in my heart. I felt like I could burst into tears at the thought of what humans are doing to our unique planet; harming these beautiful and intelligent animals by destroying the parts of the forest that they call home.
Jane made such revolutionary discoveries during her time in Africa. To think that she was the first human to have been truly accepted by a group of wild chimpanzees, the likes of whom most probably would have never encountered a human before, was remarkable. Seeing all of the newspaper clippings, from outlets breaking her wonderful story, made me think ” wow, what a time it must have been – for her, for women, for the whole world.”
The story of Flo and Flint, albeit incredibly sad, is a prime example that animals are sentient beings. They have feelings. They care and love one another just like we humans do, and equally have the capacity to grieve for family losses.
Watching the documentary, it was incredible to see how close she became with all the animals – not just the chimpanzees. Her passion for raising awareness of the threats chimpanzees are facing in the wild is clearer than clear. Since October 1986, she hasn’t spent more than three consecutive weeks in any one place. Applauding her for her hard work and dedication would be a severe understatement.
She is an inspiration. She is a role model. She is the real-life Dr Dolittle.
29. Where have you travelled?
That’s a bit of an open-ended question… is that travelled today, this year or travelled in my lifetime? We’d be here for a while if I opted for the latter that’s for sure…
So instead I’ll write about the last press trip I went on before I left NG Kids last year. I was sent to Slovenia in October to check out Postojna Cave and the mysterious olm that live there.
Postojna Cave was discovered in 1818 by a local caver, called Luka ČeČ. This vast underground kingdom boasts extraordinary natural sculptures that sprout from more or less every surface. It’s so huge that you have to take a train to get into the main part of the cave! The stalactites and stalagmites here begun forming as far as two million years ago, by the water seeping through from the Pivka River. An easy way of remembering which formation was a stalactite and which was a stalagmite, was all thanks to one letter. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites form on the ground. Clever right?!
Then there’s this little guy, which are thought to live up to 100 years old! Nicknamed the human fish, it was once thought that they were the offspring of dragons. These cave-dwelling salamander have adapted to life in the darkness in the most peculiar of ways. Although born with eyes, they soon stop developing. By the time they are four months old, skin begins to grow over them. They are still sensitive to light though, which is why it’s so tricky to get a decent picture of them. To combat the loss of vision, their hearing and sense of smell is highly developed. They’ve even got electroreceptors in their heads to help them hunt for food!
Talking about food… that’s one thing I did thoroughly enjoy – even though we were given way too much of it! Each day we were given a four course meal for both lunch and dinner, and each course came with a different wine. Needless to say, I was severely ill the second day of the trip because my body just wasn’t used to that much food – I felt I had to clear the plate each time otherwise I was given a disapproving look and asked if I didn’t like it. No pressure! However, here are some of my favourite dishes… I can’t remember exactly what was in each of them now but I just remember how amazing they tasted – especially the desserts!
#205: It’s the year 2114. A major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was in 2014. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?
The year 2014. Oh how they did things differently back then! Not that it wasn’t great… they had the triumphant 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the oh-so controversial Winter Olympics in Russia, the FIFA World Cup with Germany emerging as it’s victors and of course, the gorgeous Prince George’s first birthday, but to name a few.
There were however, incredibly devastating disasters such as the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370, the overwhelmingly tragic crash of MH17 a few months later, the terrible wars and conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, followed shortly by the violence between Israel and Hamas and then the insanely evil Boko Haram. As the Queen used back in 1992, this year was also in many peoples minds, an Annus Horribilis!
On a lighter note, that year the world was blessed with Disney’s epic film Frozen, people of all ages were obsessed with selfies, planking and loom bands, and most importantly, same-sex marriage became legal in sixteen countries! It really was the beginning of a new era, as you will find out from this new exhibition. Get ready to step back in time!
#51: You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?
Well, it of course all depends on where this plot of land is and how big it is! That said, I’d love to build an animal sanctuary/rehabilitation centre for endangered animals (inspired by the incredible primate sanctuary that is Monkey World). A pretty obvious answer when it comes from someone who works for a National Geographic product, right! But truthfully, something needs to be done about our endangered animals that continue to be poached and evicted from their natural habitats. It’s a shame but I think people don’t realise how serious the situation is – once they’re gone, that’s it!
There’s tonnes of ways you can help save the endangered animals:
– EDGE: Evolutionary Distinct & Globally Endangered!
– Care 2 petition: signing your names on these is easy and free to do!
– Born Free: adopt an animal today for just £2.50 a month (that’s one less coffee a week – easy!)