Thursday, 23 April 2020

How to stop your kids driving you mad in lockdown: 23rd April 2020

This 2020 Coronavirus lockdown is really tough for everyone, restricting us to our homes, limiting us to accessing nature in our gardens or during walks. For many people, we have a garden we can sit in and leafy roads we can walk along whilst taking our daily one hour allowance of freedom.

Visible Minority Ethnic people living in the inner city have told me that they can not go out for walks because the pavements are too narrow and people are not social distancing, just bumping into one another as they walk past.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig on a Lockdown Walk
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig with Chris Packham on Colledge Green, Bristol
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig


However, for many people, life under lockdown is even more difficult. Now think about children living in deprivation in our inner cities, especially those who are Visible Minority Ethnic (VME).  Parents waiting for universal credit to come through so children living off 'free school meal' food hampers.






At home with a number of siblings in overcrowded homes, with no space for any kind of quiet contemplation or even just your own space. Parents without the skills to home school, no computers, no printers, no paper, no paint, no felt tips or crayons. 

No garden, concreted drive at the front of the house, broken washing machines left on the pavements, only built up roads to walk along and now banned from entering parks.

It is really important for everyone especially primary age children to get outside daily, to take in the air, watch the clouds,  to absorb nature - the trees, grass and flowers. As humans were are part of nature and have developed to live as part of it. It is really important for your physical and mental health to relax, calm and reduce anxiety & fears and that is exactly what connecting with nature helps us do.

There are ways that you and your children can connect with nature, in any small green space, balcony or even out of the window. 

Day Twenty-three - 23rd April 2020

For day twenty-three, try looking through your window again but not just for 10 minutes but for a few hours. Move furniture around if you need to so that you can ideally see some treetops as well as the sky. A report from care homes and hospitals have found that those people who had a view of nature had better health outcomes compared with those with a blocked up view.

Once you have found a view, even if it is just up at the clouds with the occasional bird, keep glancing at it through the day and notice how it feels. Notice the changes and absorb what is before you.





About the Author


Young environmentalist and birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig 
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig



17-year-old young British Bangladeshi Dr Mya-Rose Craig AKA Birdgirl from the Chew Valley near Bristol is a prominent birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, race activist, writer, speaker and broadcaster, writing the Birdgirl Blog since January 2014 when she was 11 years old, which is extremely popular with both adults and children and now has over 4 million views. She has travelled all her life, visiting all seven continents when she was 13 years old, giving her a global perspective on conservation and the needs of indigenous peoples.  She writes posts about birding, nature, stopping climate breakdown, conservation and stopping species loss,  other environmental issues and racism from around the world. 

Expertise in birds and nature

She has been birding all her life with her parents and sister as well as birding abroad. She is passionate about birds, obtained her BTO Bird ringing licence at the youngest possible age of 16, takes part in the BTO Nest Record Scheme and became the youngest person to see half the worlds’ birds when she was 17 in Brazil in August 2019. 


Climate Activist

Mya-Rose has been highlighting the urgent need to tackle climate change since she was 8 years old, raising the issue with pupils, teachers in school and local people. She continued with her campaigning from January 2014, blogging about climate change and quickly building a huge following and reaching 1 million views. In 2015, she was recognised for her climate campaigning work by being made a Bristol 2015 European Green Capital Ambassador along with Miranda Krestovnikoff, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Kevin McCloud and Simon King and spoke at the Bristol Climate Change Rally Nov 2015 in front of 3,000 people. She continued writing, speaking and campaigning about the need for governments and big businesses to take urgent action to stop a climate catastrophe, particularly within the context of Bangladesh being at the top of the list of countries that will be most affected, the need for Global Climate Justice and a fair transition. In 2019, she camped and protested at Extinction Rebellion uprisings in London and Bristol, appeared in the video that launched the successful Stop Bristol Airport Expansion Campaign, set up XR Chew Valley, is a Bristol Youth Strike organiser, speaking three times at the Bristol Youth Strikes in March, May and July 2019 and sits on the Bristol Mayor’s One City Environmental Sustainability Board. In February 2020, she shared a stage with Greta Thunberg in Bristol, speaking in front of a crowd of 40,000 youth strikers. Mya-Rose also campaigns and gives talks arguing for global climate justice and a fair and just transition.

Conservation work

As well as educating people about the benefits of nature Mya-Rose has also campaigned to protect species from extinction and fight against environmental damage since she was 8 years old, then in January 2014  starting to blog about conservation issues such as palm oil, GMO, pesticides and other issues, for instance, campaigning for the immediate clean up of a devastating oil spill in the  Unesco World Heritage site, the Sundarbans mangroves in Bangladesh, writing in the American Birding Association Blog and raising $35,000 for the cleanup in 3 days. She has travelled all her life, visiting all seven continents when she was 13 years old, giving her a global perspective on conservation and the needs of indigenous peoples. 

Awards


In 2014 Mya-Rose was listed with singer-songwriter George Ezra and Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams as one of Bristol's most influential young people. She was nominated in the Birdwatch Magazine Birder's Choice Awards 2015 in the Blogger of the Year category and she was the runner up after Mark Avery and was nominated in the Bristol Young Heroes Awards 2016. In 2017 she won the Royal Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award, she was the Minister of Diversity in Nature and Conservation in Chris Packham's A Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife. In 2019, she was listed in Bristol's BME Top 100 Powerlist, The Guardian’s 10 everyday heroes fighting to save the planetwas nominated in the Birdwatch Magazine Birder's Choice Awards 2019  Conservation Hero of the Year with Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot. coming joint second after Greta Thunberg, was included in the Bristol Powerlist 2020, a list of the City’s 50 most powerful and influential people and The Guardian’s Top 15 World's Biodiversity Activists

Honorary Doctorate

In February 2020 Mya-Rose became the youngest person to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science D.Sc. h.c from Bristol University, one of the top universities in the UK and is receiving it for her five years of campaigning for diversity in the environmental sector. The sixth-former, yet to finish her A-Levels, is being recognised for her activism and the much-needed pioneering change through Black2Nature including nature camps and her Race Equality in Nature Conferences.




Connecting with children

Mya-Rose has huge experience engaging children and teenagers of all ages, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds with nature and environmental issues, having engaged approximately 50,000 so far.  As President of her organisation Black2Nature she has led the fight for equal access to the natural environment for Visible Minority Ethnic people, organising nine nature camps, Camp Avalon, for VME children and teenagers and two high profile conferences, Race Equality in Nature and is organising more for 2020She also wrote to five of the biggest NGO's in 2015, after her first camp, asking them what steps they were taking to make their organisations ethnically diverse and has continued putting pressure on nature, conservation, environmental, environmental education and wildlife film-making sectors to change. In 2020, she has two teenage camps being arranged in conjunction with the RSPB and hopes that these will expand over the next 3 years.

Race Activist

Her first conference was in 2016, which aimed to increase the ethnic diversity in nature by looking at the barriers to Visual Minority Ethnic (VME) people going out into nature, what can be done to overcome these barriers and how we can create VME role models. Speakers included Bill Oddie, Kerry McCarthy MP, Stephen Moss and Dr Richard Benwell. She also organised a second conference, Race Equality in Nature: The Next Generation 13-30 in October 2019 with Speakers Chris Packham, Bristol Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, Green Party Councillor Cleo Lake, RSPB CEO Beccy Speight and Survival International CEO Stephen Corry.

She has also set up Black2Nature in 2016 with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of VME people and is President. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. 


Articles, interviews and books

She has written articles for and appeared in many newspapers including BBC News OnlineThe Times, The GuardianThe Sunday ObserverThe Sunday TelegraphThe IndependentDaily MailThe MetroNew StatesmanBig IssueNew InternationalistResurgence & Ecologist MagazineFriends of the Earth Magazine and Triodos Bank Magazine. She has been published in The Willowherb ReviewNew Networks for NatureChartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and Red Sixty Seven. She is writing a children’s book and an autobiography about growing up with a passion for birds and her journey to seeing half the world’s birds.

Talks


She has given over 50 talks including her first hour and a half entertaining look at growing up birding, Born to Bird, in 2014, speaking at Tedx in 2016, being on a Panel with George Monbiot & Caroline Lucas MP in 2017, appearing at the Hay Festival 2018 Main Stage, speaking to 500 pupils at Millfield School, speaking at Chris Packham’s 2018 Peoples Walk for Wildlife in front of 10,000 people in Hyde Park and at English Nature’s 2019 Staff Conference to 1,500 conservationists.



Television and Radio

She has appeared on TV and Radio including BBC SpringwatchBBC CountryfileBBC The One Show, Inside Out, BBC Radio Four Tweet of the DayITV West Film Feature plus a second and thirdBBC Radio Four Saturday Live as well News such as Channel Four News, ITV News, Channel 5 News, The Today Programme appearing in BBC Four Twitchers: A Very British Obsession age 7 and featured in the 2017 BFI/BBC Four Silent Roars, presenting a German-French Arte/ARD documentary Missing - Where have all the birds gone? investigating the decline of grassland and farmland bird species, a 2020 short film by Josh Dury and short videos for EarthWatch Institute Wild Days Programme.

Ambassadorships

Mya-Rose also campaigns to stop biodiversity loss and species extinction and the rights of indigenous peoples. She is involved with Youth for our Planet UK, is a Voluntary Sector Leader Representative on Bristol City Council Strategic Boards, on the Catalyse Change Advisory Board and has attended many meetings at Downing Street and Parliament. She is a Patron for The Bristol Global Goals Centre, Global Ambassador for Burns Price FoundationEarthwatch EuropeSurvival InternationalWorld Shorebird Day and Leica Optics as well as being a Charter Champion for The Charter for Trees, Woods and People.



Mya-Rose above all has a passion and love of birds and wildlife driving her in everything. Her favourite birds are Harpy Eagle seen in Brazil and Southern Cassowary in Queensland, Australia. Other animal favourites are Orangutang in Borneo, Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Emperor Penguin in Antarctica and Komodo Dragon in Indonesia.

Social Media

Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page, follow her on Birdgirl TwitterBirdgirl Instagram and Birdgirl LinkedIn. If you would like to contact Mya-Rose about her work, please e-mail helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk.

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