This year’s World Earth Day theme makes it clear: at this critical juncture for life on Earth we can’t go back to business as usual, we have to restore our planet. That is a mission that World Land Trust (WLT) supporters have already spent decades advancing and today we want you to meet them – the people and companies who every day make a stand for a living Earth by saving land with us.
The rollercoaster past few months have opened a window into two possible and very different Earths: the planet we’ll be living in if we don’t change course, and the planet we could have if we act for nature.
On the one hand, we have seen a planet of pandemics and climate-driven wildfires, and heard scientists warn that both will become more frequent and virulent unless forests are protected. On the other, we have seen a planet allowed – by way of lockdown restrictions – to breathe: cleaner skies, cheap renewable energy powering our homes, wildlife returning to our towns and cities.
This second option is fully possible, and since our foundation in 1989 we’ve been funding strategies that bring us closer to it. Saving land, planting trees, reducing and offsetting one’s carbon footprint through the protection of tropical forests – solutions already exist to our planetary crisis and all they need is for people to believe in them; dedicated, incredible people like the ones we want you to meet today.
For World Earth Day we want to acknowledge WLT’s individual fundraisers, people – like Terezie or Henry and Bea, see below to read their stories – who remind us that no one is too small to make a difference. We want to thank all the businesses who are passionate about changing the planet for the better through us (if you search for the #WLTCorporates hashtag on social media over the next few days you will meet some of them.)
Today we look at this year’s World Earth Day theme (‘As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business as usual’) and we feel proud of the movement who make our work possible: the individuals and companies for whom saving our living planet has long been business as usual; the only business that ever matters.
Quiet for nature: Anna, Charlotte and friends’ sponsored silence for Action Fund
Keeping quiet for 24 hours can’t have been easy for sisters Anna and Charlotte, but that’s precisely what they decided to do after watching videos of the devastation of the natural world. Inspired by WLT patrons Sir David Attenborough, Steve Backshall and Chris Packham, the duo held a day-long sponsored silence in early March. Soon friends Henry, Alfie, Leffe, Ela and Olivia were doing the same in their homes – and together they all raised £579, smashing their £400 target! The day of silence was not without its hiccups – Charlotte’s attempt at a silent video call with her grandmother proved tricky – but the sisters left convinced of the difference anyone can make for nature. They tell us: “Do what you can – big or small. You can’t control what other people do but you can be sure you’ve done your bit.”
Click here to find out more about the sponsored silence challenge of Anna, Charlotte and friends
Three Peaks Challenge: No mountain high enough for MPMA’s Robert Fell
Robert Fell describes his decision to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge as a “celebration of, or to be more accurate in defiance of my sixtieth year”. On 22 May, the chief executive of the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) – who already support WLT through the sale of this refillable water bottle – will set off on a 24-mile trek along the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – all within 12 hours! Robert says training has been going well. He tell us: “There comes a time when just being interested in conservation is not enough, you have to try to do your bit. It’s true that as individuals we can’t solve the problems on our own but we can all do something, and lots of people doing something will make a genuine difference.”
Robert is now close to reaching his fundraising target (you can donate to help him here)
“The local community is a great place to start”: Terezie and Eva’s virtual charity shop
Last year and with lockdown in full swing, Terezie Wickenden was struck by an idea as she watched charity shops close around the UK. What if the many people doing clear-outs had an online store to turn to, selling their unwanted items with all profits going to a good cause? The Surbiton Virtual Charity Shop was born, and together with friend Eva Katona the duo saw interest for the initiative smash initial expectations: within less than one year, the shop has raised over £2,000 for our Buy an Acre programme from some 1,400 local members, and the flow of donations is not stopping. To Terezie, the experience shows that those keen to do their bit for the natural world should start with their local community. “Find a local group, connect with other people, support and learn from each other. We may feel powerless as individuals but together, communities can achieve a lot,” she says.
Warriors of the Wild: Henry and Bea brave snowy runs to save 10 acres
To grasp the impact that siblings Henry and Bea have made this year for threatened habitats, a figure will suffice: 538%. That is, at the time of writing, how far they have gone in smashing their target to raise funds for WLT. These self-styled ‘Warriors of the Wild’ braved a weather rollercoaster in February 2021 – pouring rain followed by unseasonal heat followed by snow flurries – as they hit the trails for weekly runs in support of our Buy an Acre programme. “During our snowy runs our favourite running route was like an ice rink,” they tell us. “It was hard to make ourselves go out in the freezing cold after being warm inside, doing Zoom home schooling.” Henry and Bea say they feel “really proud” to have come so far in their WLT challenge and so they should: they have raised enough funds to save 10 acres of land – a slice of tropical forests and all the life in it that will be protected, thanks to them, for generations to come.
Click here to find out more about the WLT fundraising challenge of Henry and Bea