Guest Blog – One year on – Jennifer Avery

Jennifer Avery has recently worked for the RSPB in northwest England and will soon start work for the RSPB in southwest England.  She has been blogging for a year and this blog appeared on her blog in late September. Follow Jennifer on Twitter as @jennifercavery.

I’ve always loved wildlife and I was lucky enough to grow up in a pretty green-minded family but I can pinpoint the exact moment when I really “got” environmentalism. It was after a family visit to the RSPB Titchwell reserve in Norfolk when I was 17 and I’d picked up Your Step-By-Step Guide To Climate Bliss, a very small book about climate change produced by the icount group. There were loads of easy ways to lower your carbon footprint (grabbing a jumper rather than turning on the heating, cooking with the lid on and even sharing a shower!) and also a campaigning ask, to send off the back cover which was a postcard to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair asking him to stop climate change by creating a new law. It was the first time I realised that I could actually do something to affect this thing “climate change” that was on the news and in science lessons and there were so many easy things that you could do to make the world better. The book was short, simple and entertaining and within minutes of buying it I was hooked, and by the end of the two hour journey home I was planning a petition signing at my local market the next week.

Since then I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in many, many different projects. I’ve remade paths after floods on nature reserves, I’ve sorted post in campaigns offices, I was even lucky enough to be the RSPB representative for handing in that icount petition I signed, visiting the cabinet office and meeting Tony Blair. My MP got to know my name as I sent e-petitions to tell him about issues and ask what he would do to represent me, and I learnt how complicated environmental issues, laws and policies are, as well as how many little things we can do to help in our everyday lives.
But as with many new things as time goes by the momentum is lost and you do less and less. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog, a whole year ago now, as a way to motivate me to refocus on what impact my life is having, and how I can make a better, not worse, impact on the world. It’s definitely made me think more about green issues, and notice the world around me more. I’ve tried cleaning with vinegar, started getting a local, organic veg box, learnt all about cycling safety and taken a closer look at my local wildlife. It’s had an impact on friends and family too with comments about recent posts or suggestions for future blogs. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started, but already I can see myself slipping out of habits and losing momentum again. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the problems facing the world and even easier to think that one small person can’t make a difference. But as the quote goes

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

and all I really needed was a injection of motivation again to lift my spirits and that’s just what I got this week from another green book. Advice from parents is often very good advice (sometimes grudgingly and annoyingly)  but it doesn’t often come in the form of print. Proudly reading my Dad’s new book  Fighting for Birds I enjoyed often-told family stories and hearing his thoughts on conservation issues but the Climate Chapter really hit home. Again I had a moment when I realised the only thing that will create a better future climate is us, doing something, and the only thing that’s stopping us (as a world population) is our own inaction. When I think about it like that I feel really excited about writing to my MP, MEPs and councillors, motivated to try new green ideas and guilt tripped into avoiding bad consumer choices.
So, fully motivated again, I’ve set myself a few new green challenges:
  • Have at least one veggie day a week. (The boyfriend’s joining in this one too)
  • Break the habit of driving to the local shop. It’s close enough to walk and I could do with the exercise!
  • Write to my MP regularly asking about green policies and issues. Because you can’t presume someone else will be explaining or highlighting them.
Let’s see how the next year goes!
Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati del.icio.us Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

Get email notifications of new blog posts

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.


20 Replies to “Guest Blog – One year on – Jennifer Avery”

  1. The thing I never do (well, among the many things) is write to my M.P.. You have motivated me to do something about that - thanks! You are very right that speaking out is important if things are to change.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Glad you enjoyed the blog. The first few responses I had from my MP were quite generic but after a while they got quite friendly and chatty, he even used to send me information on environment policies without me asking about it! Definitely worth shouting up about green issues. Good luck!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  2. Since i lost my husband & Mum last year which means I have a lot more time to myself, I've had time to reassess my life. Getting my first laptop earlier this year to help me get through illness & the dark days has opened up the world for me. I am now more conscious of what is happening to this precious planet of ours & realize the legacy we will leave our grand children. E-petitions & sharing campaigns on my Twitter & Facebook pages are just the start, living more environmentally aware is my choice now, not using harmful chemicals, eating meat only occasionally (usually when I'm a guest at someones table) growing my own & trading with friends who have allotments, refusing plastic bags not just recycling, buying quality clothes at charity shops ... the list goes on ... there's such a lot we can all do & every little bit helps. I look forward to being a volunteer at a nature reserve when I retire from work & grand-childminding duties. In the meantime I shall be buying your Dad's book & reading it avidly !

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. You sound inspiring Vivienne! I have a long way to go still but like you say, every little helps. Thanks for the comment.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  3. Mark, It strikes me there is one very proud dad there. Best wishes to Jennifer when she comes to the South West.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Thanks Bob! Looking forward to exploring the Exeter area, lots of South West themed blogs over the next few months so keep reading!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  4. Can only agree entirely with Bobs comment,seems Jennifer is a chip off the old block and one of the nicest things in life is when children become good citizens and want to improve the environment and wildlife.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Thanks Dennis! Didn't realise quite how much of a chip I was until this weekend when I visited three RSPB reserves in a day, actually bird watching - my teenage self would have been horrified!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  5. What an excellent topic. There is a lot more I can be doing to benefit the environment, but the key thing at the moment is finding time to write to my MP and to the Law Commission about the review of wildlife legislation. I am, after all, involved in raptor monitoring, so this is central to my interests. And there are lots of other things I should be doing.

    Finally, it was very nice to meet you, Jen, when I helped out on the stall at the Northumberland County Show earlier this year. This year I have made a point of doing some volunteering that is different from what I normally do, because it is good to have a change occasionally.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Phil, how lovely to hear from you! It was fantastic meeting you in June, very interesting hearing about that nest location and ID workshop. Glad you enjoyed the blog; writing to your MP can take just seconds if you find an e-petition you agree with, but despite what you've said in your comment I know you're already very very busy doing lots of fantastic volunteering for nature! Hope you enjoyed the Country Show, keep up the amazing work!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Thanks Matt, you too! Seems like yesterday and ages ago that I was doing my Buglife volunteering. Brilliant fun!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  6. I remember the 'I count elephant book' too 🙂 nice 1, its cool that your blog is a brilliant nudge! Thank you for that , best wishes David

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked the book and the blog David! I've still got mine, always good for a quick motivation boost. Keep reading the blog for more nudges!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  7. Jennifer - thank you for an inspiring blog. You will love Exeter and the southwest - the Moors, estuaries and Jurassic coast are rightly famous; the beautiful Exe and Culm valleys are also well worth getting to know. And check out the Bridge Inn at Topham as soon as you get the chance. Good luck!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Thanks for the comment MK! Glad you liked the blog more on my site every Monday. really looking forward to Exeter and will definitely check out the Bridge Inn, thanks for the tip!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.