A letter from Chris Packham

Restore Nature Now

[London 22nd June]

Dear friends, I’m writing to your group as one of the UK’s many smaller, grassroots organisations. It’s a beautiful day in Arne, Dorset where I’m currently filming Springwatch- the field of grass shoots and seedlings seems appropriate.

I applaud you- grassroots are the beating hearts of campaigning and activism. We may be small but we are mighty!

We are the mycelium under the floor of campaigning; tirelessly working away, growing, networking and barely seen- but without us the whole ecosystem of activism would simply not flourish. I thank you for the vital role that you play. A selfless, passionate and inspiring role.

We are light and agile, without the heavy governance and processes of boards and multiple layers of management. We can be responsive, reactive and blaze trails where other bulkier organisations can only slowly follow. What we lack in membership and funds we make up for in energy and effectiveness.

So here’s to the grassroots; the volunteers, the local activists, the common people, the ordinary folk MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope to see as many of you as possible on Sat 22 June in London to demand our government Restore Nature Now. You can sign-up as a supporting organisation here and as individuals pledge to march here.

We know that amazing things can happen when we come together- when we unite en-masse to joyously, fervently, demand the changes we need to see from our elected leaders when it comes to biodiversity loss and climate breakdown.

See you on the streets! Chris

No-one is too small to make a difference!

One of our many volunteers read this book recently and was moved to write a review:

Everybody should read this book – it is full of solid scientific facts, and brutally honest, but somehow inspiring at the same time.

When Greta Thunberg first appeared on the scene, I didn’t read much about her. It took me a while to realise why. It was because she made me feel both envious and guilty! I knew that I would never have had the courage to speak out and call world leaders to account when I was just a teenager. I felt guilty because I felt I should be doing more than I was about the climate crisis.

She started by taking Fridays off school and sitting down outside the Swedish parliament. She handed out fliers with lots of information about the climate crisis, and posted her actions on social media. Once this went viral, hundreds of thousands of other school children have followed her example.

Greta Thunberg is absolutely remarkable and this small book was a revelation to me. Her first book, it is a collection of speeches she made to a range of audiences including the UN, the UK parliament, the US congress, the World Economic Forum and climate rallies. Not all of the people she was addressing were as concerned about the climate crisis as she was. Some were sceptical and others overtly hostile.

What I found amazing about this book was the stark clarity of her writing. She explains that having Asperger’s Syndrome causes her to think in black and white. She sees this as an advantage because as she says “there are no grey areas when it comes to survival”. What she finds inexplicable is the gap between the urgency of the situation, supported by science, and the lack of action on the part of politicians and businesses to tackle the problem.

Hub VOLUNTEER’s Book Review

Get this book from all good bookshops including one of our personal favorites: The Little Bookshop Cookham. [Greta Thunberg ISBN 978-0-141-99271-6]

Grow Green: Gardening Ideas for a better planet

One of our many visitors at the Hub at our Anniversary Event was inspired by what they saw.

They talked about how many of the resources in the Hub support the messages and learnings from a book they recently read. They wrote a review and strongly recommend “Grow Green” by Jen Chillingaworth.

“This little book is one I would certainly recommend to anybody who wants to learn about gardening in the best way for the planet. It is small and light enough to be carried around the garden, and provides lots of helpful information for all green gardeners, including beginners.

Hub Visitor’s Book Review

You can get this book from all good bookshops including one of our personal favorites: The Little Bookshop Cookham.

I thought we were not doing too badly in our garden, from an environmental viewpoint. We have a pond, two water butts, three compost bins, a log pile and a wild area. We don’t use any chemicals and have started to save some of our seeds. However, I found lots of useful tips in this little book which covers topics from compost and biodiversity, to checking your soil type and growing indoor plants. I never knew that ground cinnamon could be sprinkled on soil in seed trays to help reduce problems with fungal disease, or that most edible plants need 6-8 hours of direct sunshine during the day.

The author does not assume that her readers know anything about environmentally friendly gardening, but manages not to be patronising! She suggests we apply the 5 R principles – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot to everything we do in the garden. There are loads of ideas on how to reuse containers you already have, lists of what is suitable for composting, and which plants help others to grow better.

Many of the things she mentions fit in with the resources at the ECO Action Hub! I have swapped seeds there, and will certainly be at the next seedling swap. The library of things will mean tools and equipment can be borrowed, saving money and reusing resources more efficiently. There is a great section about wildlife and how to make your garden more welcoming to all sorts of creatures. It is a fantastic place to visit anyway, but has already made us better at gardening sustainably.

Hub Visitor’s Book Review

Earth Day: today and every day!

A globe on a desk

What we do today and everyday helps form the kind of world we want to live in. Reducing our carbon emissions is ever more important: Working together we can achieve more – and we’re here today and every day to help you!

Here are some really great ideas – chose one (or two) for Earth Day and every day!

  1. Eat less meat and dairy – saving money and carbon!
  2. Leave the car at home – walk or cycle or bus and feel good!
  3. Draughtproof the house – you’ve always wanted to and we can help!
  4. Turn the thermostat down 1% – saving money, fuel and money too!
  5. Shun single-use plastic – stop buying bottled water of coffee in a cup?
  6. Join a local ‘Wild’ group and make your space more green & friendly?
  7. Buy less, spend less … consume less: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse Recycle!

🌎🌱 Make every day earth Day! Help create a greener, healthier future! 🌎🌱

Earth Day 2024
Earth as a lightbulb moment

Take the 10% Carbon Reduction Challenge!

What’s it all about? We all know we need to reduce our carbon footprint, don’t we? We can see climate change is real, that there are global issues and local concerns. Can we afford to do nothing, or can we really make some changes ourselves and have an impact?

Can you make a difference? What can you do to really reduce carbon, save money, and equally importantly how will you feel if you do make changes? How much difference can you really make as a person, and how easy will it be? We can help you! 

Introducing the 10% Challenge: Understanding your personal and household’s carbon footprint, finding tools and approaches to become more aware, then being given plans, approaches, and support to reduce your footprint year on year is what the 10% Challenge is all about.

Tell me more? 

  1. We will help you calculate your carbon footprint today.
  2. Prioritize changes you can make (how easy, how expensive, what return).
  3. Build a plan with you to make a difference (travel, food, reduce/reuse, …)
  4. Show you how to keep assessing, planning, and making real changes!

What next? Come and see us and get some great ideas to start your journey and make a difference now. Sign up with us to get more help. We are open Thursdays to Sundays (here

Come to our Anniversary Party: we’ll have our team there ready to talk with you AND we’ll have special guests including RBWM’s Karen Davies (Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Biodiversity) and her colleagues signing up to and taking the 10% Challenge with you!!

Book now: Climate Fresk Workshop

Saturday 20th April 10:00 – 13:00 in the ECO Action Hub Maidenhead

You can’t fix what you don’t understand – luckily, the Climate Fresk turns climate science into a game! Played by over 1M people worldwide, this collaborative workshop allows you to understand the essential issues of climate change in order to take action.

Based on IPCC reports, you’ll learn how the climate functions – as well as the consequences of its disruption. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, you’ll learn a lot in just three hours.

How it works: The workshop is based on a 42-card game.

  • Each card represents an element, a cause or a consequence of climate change.
  • In teams, guided by facilitators, you have to find the cause-effect relationship between the different components of climate change.
  • Collective intelligence will get you from one set of cards to the next!
  • This step-by-step reconstruction provides keys to understand the complexity and develop an overview of climate change.

All you need to bring is your joy, energy, and willingness to learn! Just make sure to arrive on time so we can start the workshop with the whole group, and plan to stay for the full 3 hours (there will be a short break in the middle).

Tickets: offered at £10, £5, or free … we welcome a donation of £10.00, £5.00 for Students and unemployed, but no donation may also be fine. ALL the registration details you need are in the event link.

New Year Green Resolutions

May we help you to be GREENER in 2024? Here are 7 great ideas to help you have a greener cleaner 2024. Reduce your carbon, increase nature, and save money this year!

  1. Travel can be fun: Let the train take the strain and make your journey an enjoyable part of the holiday. Stop enroute and enjoy an interesting city. www.seat61.com has lots of advice about how to reach places quickly or scenically and how to book. www.railbookers.co.uk does it all for you!
  2. A walk in nature walks the soul back home: Spending more time in nature can benefit both your mental and physical well-being. Doing things like growing food or flowers, or exercising outdoors can have lots of positive effects. Join your local wildlife group to get more involved. Wild Maidenhead www.wildmaidenhead.org.uk or Wild Cookham www.wildcookham.org.uk or all the ‘Wilds’ are listed here.
  3. More joyful than ‘dry’ January! Veganuary is also much more worthwhile. www.veganuary.com will send you their celebrity cookbook, meal plans, recipes and lots more – all for free! If not for all January then try 1 more veggie or vegan meal than normal.
  4. Upskill to upcycle? Try something new and celebrate new skills – like upcycling your unwanted furniture? Pop into our ECO Action hub and look at the items on display by our two associates for inspiration! You can buy them too!
  5. Use that windowsill: A salad/ herb pot will give you fresh herbs for months. ECO Action will have seed and seedling swaps in the early Spring. Maidenhead Veg Growers Facebook site offers valuable help.
  6. ‘New’ Clothes are so ‘yesterday’: Pre loved sites like www.vinted.co.uk and local charity shops will make you an individual and save you money. The ECO Action Repair Cafe can help you make fabric repairs.
  7. Save parking costs! Discover your local cycle routes. Cycling makes you fitter and saves money on petrol (no parking costs either). Maidenhead Cycle Hub will service your bike or sell you a reconditioned one www.cyclehub.org.uk/workshop!

Here is a file to download of all of these if you want to have a keepsake: HERE

Choose one, choose two, … or more! Keep a track of them, come into the Hub and let us know how you are doing! And a Happy Green New Year to everyone from the ECO Action Hub WAM!

Tipping Points – Good News!

“Our Positive Tipping Points are bringing change to the climate crisis”.

New research at the University of Exeter highlights the growing threat of “tipping points” that could accelerate the climate crisis. They’re also identifying sources of hope: Positive Tipping Points. That sounds like good news?

We have identified Positive Tipping Points in a range of areas from agriculture and ecosystem regeneration to politics and public opinion. Some Positive Tipping Points are already in progress. Others are yet to be triggered. Understanding these areas and working to identify the opportunities could allow us to activate Tipping Points that could combine into cascades of positive change.

For more information read this post from Exeter University here: Our Positive Tipping Points are bringing change to the climate crisis | University of Exeter

Sustainability is for everyone: Parisa’s Journey …

This is Parisa Wright’s TEDTalk last month. She’s talking about her journey to a more sustainable lifestyle and what she is now doing to help her family & her community.

Picture of Parisa Wright

Living Sustainably: Her story and the journey she has been on is so well described and emotionally powerful. She talks about how living sustainably to benefit her community and her children is all about saving money.

Please watch: Sustainability is for everyone | Parisa Wright | TEDxBeckenham – YouTube

ECO Action for Windsor and Maidenhead logo

“Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break The Law?”

REVIEW BY ANDREW INGRAM

The recent illegal tactics adopted by Just Stop Oil and other such groups have split public opinion and sent news media like the Daily Mail into a proper ragin’ fury. Continual photos of long traffic queues on the M25 were accompanied by stories of key workers such as nurses who were unable to get to hospitals, relatives who could not attend funerals etc.

There is no doubt these activities caught the public’s notice, but left many feeling alienated from the cause because of the seeming unfairness of the results.

Photo: Proper Content

Intelligently, Chris Packham does not start by taking sides in the debate. He just asks the question: in the ever-worsening environmental crisis is it time to go beyond lawful protest into civil disobedience and illegal activities?

The resulting programme is more of a think-piece than a documentary. If the legal and governmental structures we have are proving unresponsive to the climate crisis, there is a case to consider more direct action. As we know, it can work (suffragettes) but it doesn’t always (anti-abortion protests in US).

Tragically, Packham partly blames himself for the current situation: as a high profile conservationist and spokesperson on environmental issues, he has failed to bring about the changes needed.

One of the most anguished parts of the programme is Chris Packham talking about his intense disappointment when attending COP 26 in Glasgow – the only truly global mechanism for dealing with these challenges. There, despite consistent and alarming evidence about the climate emergency, decisions were ducked, agreements were botched and national financial interest constantly put ahead of global responsibility – encouraged by the highly-paid and persuasive voices in the fossil fuel lobby. So we wait and watch to see what comes out of COP 27.

We rate this programme very highly and encourage you watch it if you haven’t already (link here). Not everyone liked it, with the Daily Mail reporting “Suella Braverman slams Chris Packham”. Well, that’s that sorted out then.