An important conversation about the future of nature has just started – one that will be “too big for anyone to ignore” – and the entire UK population is invited to join in. The People’s Plan for Nature is an initiative from WWF, the National Trust and the RSPB. They describe it as “a unique, people-led collaboration to make our nature something we can all be proud of.” They point out that the nature crisis affects us all and so we all should have a say in how we protect and restore nature – including young people. Life-Based Learning is all about engagement and participation, and the People’s Plan for Nature is a fantastic opportunity to take part in something positive and – it is to be hoped – game-changing.
The first stage of the plan is the consultation bit, the collection and sharing of ideas. This is happening online, with the deadline for responses 30 October. Questions include:
The People’s Plan for Nature website includes lots of examples to provide ideas and inspiration, and there is also an opportunity to comment on others’ ideas.
The second stage is the convening of a people’s assembly in November. The People’s Assembly for Nature will be made up of 100 people who are representative of the UK population. They will sift through the public’s ideas and listen to experts before developing a set of recommendations.
Stage three is the launch of the plan in March 2023. It will “set out how the government, businesses, NGOs and communities can take action to tackle the nature crisis.”
Life-Based Learning is all about reimagining education so that it reflects the issues and challenges we face in the coming decades and putting life itself at the core of learning. A life-based education needs to be a green education. The environment and our relationship with the planet are a central pillar of LBL, ensuring that children are learning:
LBL is also about agency and empowerment, giving young people the knowledge, knowhow and skills to lead healthy, sustainable and happy lives, and helping inspire them to take on the immense challenges the planet faces – not least the sustainability challenge.
We have blogged previously about the importance of engagement and participation in education, particularly as a way of dealing with eco-anxiety. Children and young people need to be learning about the environmental challenges we face, but at the same time they also need to be encouraged and empowered to take practical action to make a difference and bring about change. It is a crucial step to making things better, an acknowledgement that solutions cannot just be left to distant and abstract actors on the world stage like sovereign governments and the United Nations. It is also a way to tackle mental health conditions like eco-anxiety that thrive on feelings of helplessness and disempowerment.