David Attenborough once said, “People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure”. Think about the moments that prove him right: maybe it’s watching a cat flop in a stream of sunlight as you leave the house; or it’s roasting a marshmallow on a fire in a quiet spot outside your meeting place; or it’s when camp is just night enough for the local birds to be asleep, for rabbits to flicker in and out of the moonlight as they sprint to their burrows and for the stars to start appearing in their web of constellations …
Those in Guiding get a particularly long list of moments like these: in my first week as a Guide I got lost in the woods while orienteering (it turned out the woods were only six metres deep, or about seven times the length of your arms when you stretch them out, so the leaders found me pretty quickly). On camps in my local Scout park I’ve had pigeons perch on my tent in the morning while they scan the ground for snacks, and other Guiders have told tales of international trips where, after days of hiking through glorious new landscapes, they’ve been able to explore wonders of the world just as the sun wakes up (and then they go to bed shortly after, thanks to all that hiking).
This month Girlguiding LaSER are celebrating the uncountably brilliant things about nature and how we can use our voices to stand up for the planet. You can find meeting packs on the LaSER website for both in-person and online sessions for every section – are your unit keen to create? Hedgehog houses are a perfect plan, especially before the autumn chill begins and hedgehogs are looking for sanctuary from the fireworks and freeze. Craftivism gets your voice heard and seen (and if you find somewhere public to show your work, it’s a great way to remind people to keep making change). If your unit wants to take their ideas to the top, write to your local MP and stand up for your county and everything that lives in it.
You’ve probably heard the quote about how it only takes one person to spark a change – but here’s the brilliant thing: we’re Girl Guides. There’s ten million of us in one hundred and five countries, reaching right across the world; if we stand up for nature together, it’s not one voice standing up for the planet but a whole chorus on every continent. Any one of the LaSER challenges above will make the world a little bit safer for the creatures and plants that share our land, sea and sky (well, maybe not sky plants, but all the others should be right). Try one of them out in your next meeting – David A would be proud of you.