23 August 2019
It’s fantastic to see so many people making wiser choices to help look after our natural environment, such as using reusable water bottles or leaving the car at home, so it’s timely to hear from an inspirational local young person who is taking small steps to make huge changes for the Lake District and beyond.
I am Amy Bray. I am 16 years old. The Lake District is my home and the oceans are my passion and I will do everything in my power to conserve them. On 31 August 2019 I’m asking people to walk a Wainwright fell and spread the message that we need to live more kindly towards our planet.
It started a few years ago, when I was 12 perhaps, but I think the spark had been glowing all my life because I cared. I cared about our oceans, about wood sorrel under a tree, about a bee on a flower. I marvelled at all living things and I wanted to study more about them. I wanted to dedicate my life to them. But they were in danger and soon, there would no longer be anything left to study. It was when I realised that, like a cage falling around my dreams, that I became a conservationist.
I realised that I had to do something, because I am one of the seven billion people on this planet. If I did not use my life to do everything I could to fix our future, when I am 27 our climate will break down and it will have been my fault. I might no longer have the world I love so much. Sometimes I have to get out; out in the sun and the hills and the lakes, to escape the overwhelming despair I feel if I let my mind wander over the extent of the crisis our planet is in. Sometimes, there are thoughts only the cold water will wash away.
I started with changing myself and my family. We went plastic-free two years ago and we tried to lower our carbon footprint in every way we could. It was tricky, but manageable in small steps and I wanted to help other people do the same. It was then that my marine conservation campaign, Devotion to Ocean, was born at school. I gave talks about plastic pollution; I established a plastic-free shop and I worked with the school to reduce our plastic waste. I then started to give awareness sessions and advice to schools and community groups across Cumbria and beyond, which inspired my educational charity, Another Way, which I founded in January 2019.
People used to say to me, “you’ll go on to do great things.” I just want to do good things. I have now delivered my awareness sessions and message to over 2500 people and collected 1000 pledges of behavioural change. I want to give people the faith that their actions really do make a difference. I tell people that we have waited too long for someone else to change for us. Now is the time to take our future into our own hands.
I am working with farmers in the Lake District to produce their food in harmony with our earth; I am planting 1,700 trees in November with local schoolchildren, farmers and a minister and our Another Weigh shop in Penrith is helping our community to change their habits. On the 31 August 2019, hundreds of supporters and ambassadors are climbing the 214 Wainwrights in the Lakes in support of Another Way.
If one person spreads a message to ten people in one day, and the next day those ten people each told ten more, it would only take ten days for the whole world to have been inspired. I am one of those people, you are too. We are never insignificant.