I’m thrilled to share this story – it was a significant event for our family and river pollution continues to be a problem nationwide.
We live near a canal and often walk beside it. Usually however, the canal area is full of rubbish and unsafe. My daughters were very upset about it and did not like that people were not looking after creation. They thought someone should do something about it.
My two children were very young at the time, so it was important to focus on how we could help make things better rather than on the broader issues surrounding the subject. We suggested writing to our local MP, Mark Pawsey, in Rugby. They were keen to do this, but as they were young, I supported them in creating a video about the issue that asked Mark for help.
I also sought advice from Hope for the Future (HftF) on contacting our MP. HftF is an organisation that helps you prepare for a meeting with your MP. It helps you to be vocal about issues so that the government will take note.
We sent our video (view below) to Mark Pawsey, along with a HftF template letter and a picture of the canal area. The letter detailed my concern as a parent and my involvement in managing seven acres of land (Nettle Hill, a residential conference and retreat centre and part of A Rocha UK’s Partner in Action network).
Encouragingly, the girls received a letter in response and an email inviting us for a meeting. Sadly, due to COVID-19, we did not manage to meet. After discussing the issues as a family again, I have decided to write to Mr Pawsey to rearrange the appointment and discuss how we can make our canal area better and safer.
I was so pleased that the girls got a response and that our local MP took it seriously enough to want a meeting. I was glad I could show my girls how to be a voice for nature and act for nature by taking a small action. It became apparent that the main challenge is keeping these critical issues at the forefront of the government agenda. These things get lost so easily when we do not speak out.
From this experience, I advise those who have young children to inspire them to be in awe of this wonderful world, and out of that awe, to respond to what is around us. Once again, I am inspired to walk humbly and act justly, which means speaking up or stepping out and joining others in action. And when we do take action, it’s good to document it, tell the government what is being done and give them the chance to engage with us.
This article was written by Aby Lynch for our ‘nature and campaigning’ Wild Christian email. Aby manages the seven-acre Nettle Hill site, our Partners in Action located in Warwickshire.