Having grown up in a small village in the countryside of Austria I have always loved nature and especially enjoyed the outdoors through various sports activities like snowboarding and hiking in the mountains and swimming in our beautiful lakes. Over time nature has become much more than that; it now is my favourite place to pray and spend time with God. The more I spend time out there with God the more I learn about his heart for his creation and the more my desire to care and take practical action for nature grows.
I wanted to share my new plans for Easter holidays in lockdown; perhaps you’ll feel inspired to join in too! At first, I was disappointed because I was originally intending to go to Austria to see my family who I haven’t seen in almost 2 years. Still wanting the holidays to be special I have decided to do a holiday ‘PLOT’ – keep reading and you’ll find out what that means!
When I think about lifestyle changes, I call it ‘plotting for nature,’ with every letter standing for something; P for prayer- spending time with God in his creation ; L for lifestyle – watching out how we live, noticing things that we could change; O for ‘own it’ – so once we know things that we are doing that are not so good for nature, slowly making steps towards change in ourselves and owning that responsibility; then T for talking and sharing with others about it and taking people on this journey with us.
I live in the community at A Rocha UK’s Partner in Action, Ashburnham Place and with some friends we have a Whatsapp group to share and encourage each other in eco-friendly living. We meet weekly and enjoy doing lots of different eco projects together; making products instead of buying them. We have recently made our own soap, deodorant and body moisturising bars. We pick a theme each week and then create things around that. A couple of weeks ago I had to cut back some rosemary in my garden so we made rosemary infused oil, rosemary butter and rosemary lemonade (my personal favourite!).
We also try to create things that benefit and encourage wildlife on site like planting pollinator-friendly flower areas. Recently I had the opportunity to help the Ashburnham team to build 8 swift boxes which they will be putting up in preparation for the return of these amazing birds.
For this Easter holiday I’ve calculated how much money I would usually spend on going on holiday and then allowed a percentage of this amount to make a holiday at home, a holiday to remember, full of fun, creativity, sports and adventure. I have quite a lot of plans such as making postcards or letters and sending them via ‘snail mail’ to everyone I was going to visit in Austria, and running the Seven Sisters, beautiful chalk cliffs forming part of the South Downs in East Sussex. I also want to try out some things I always wanted to know how to do, like making my own butter and cheese using milk from a local farmer. I am looking forward to going outside and making things with what I can find in nature.
Now, not everyone reading can attempt cheese or butter making but maybe there are some like minded people that you can PLOT and share with online to create really fun, exciting holidays where you are with what you have around you.
This ‘Meet the Community’ article was written by Regina Ebner for the Wild Christian email, ‘Nature and the UK.’ Regina is our Partner in Action Coordinator. Follow her Easter holiday PLOT at @regina.ebner.