#lovenature

Last year, Crystal Stanley, from Ipswich, created the inspirational ‘Rainbow Trail’ campaign with her daughter Ariana, encouraging people across the UK to decorate their windows with rainbows in support of frontline NHS workers.

The campaign attracted the support of millions of families nationwide and significant press coverage, while Crystal received a Point of Light award from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who described the Rainbow Trail as “a symbol of hope for our whole nation”.

One year later, while continuing to thank NHS workers through the Rainbow Trail’s Facebook group, which has attracted nearly 200,000 members, Crystal is taking another important cause to heart.

Crystal explained: “My daughter, Ariana, is my world and as we all begin to look to the future with renewed hope, I’ve become increasingly aware that an even bigger challenge lies ahead for her generation and for all of us – climate change.”

“For some time I’ve been following another inspiring online community, Plastic Free Home, which aims to ‘seek and share ideas on living more sustainably’ and I thought it might be interesting if we could work together to promote a positive environmentally-focused message.”

Inspired by Sir David Attenborough and his two young sons, Plastic Free Home was created in 2018 by Wokingham-based David Lamont. Since then, David has continued to post and write extensively on the subject, including regular columns in the likes of Wokingham.Today and appearances in publications ranging from Country Living to The Scotsman. He has also appeared on regional BBC Radio and been invited by local businesses, schools, charities and community groups to give talks on the subject.

David explained: “I was touched when Crystal got in touch and to learn that she had been following Plastic Free Home – what she has achieved is exceptional.

Our sons proudly displayed their rainbow pictures in our front window throughout last year and we also have a framed picture of the four of us on a woodland walk to which we added a rainbow and the message ‘The greater the storm the brighter the rainbow’.

As parents, I think we share a belief that protecting our children, alongside their happiness and wellbeing, is our number one priority. Doing something, no matter how small, to acknowledge and to help address the problem of climate change would appear to fall under that remit.

The past year, perhaps more than any other, has hopefully reminded so many of us of the crucial role that nature plays in our everyday lives, and of its positive impact on our mental and physical health.

From gathering outdoors with our loved ones to countryside walks, cycling or jogging to a spur of the moment garden project, nature has been there for us when we most needed it.”

Crystal continued: “That is why this spring and summer we are inviting families across the country to say thank you to nature, in the same way they thanked everyone in the NHS throughout last year.”

“We’d love to see children (and adults) placing a picture of a happy planet Earth in their windows, alongside their rainbows, and sharing these all over the internet using #lovenature. If you can use repurposed or recycled paper and materials – even better!”

And feel free to email your efforts to us at plasticfreehome@gmail.com – we’d love to see (and share) them!

Below, Plastic Free Home suggests ten other great ways families can #lovenature as we all work towards living more sustainably and a truly happy and thriving planet Earth.

1. Aim to reduce your energy usage through steps ranging from turning off lights and appliances to limiting your use of central heating. Even lowering the thermostat a degree or two can make a huge difference. And switch to a green energy supplier.

2. Consider if you can reduce your intake of meat and dairy products, or go the whole way and become vegan or vegetarian.

3. Ensure that you fully understand what can be recycled in your local area and how. Whether it’s through kerbside collections, your nearest supermarket or a local TerraCycle scheme.

4. When making purchases, whether it’s your weekly food shop or something bigger, aim to consider the most eco-friendly and sustainable option available and affordable to you, based on where and how something has been made, the raw materials or ingredients used, and how easily it can be recycled at the end of its life.

5. Turn your garden into a haven for nature by adding a compost bin, water butts, bird baths and nesting boxes, insect hotels and pollinator friendly plants.

6. Try to shop locally wherever you can and support the often independent businesses at the heart of your community.

7. The past year has reminded us of the fantastic holiday destinations we have here in the UK. Aim to reduce how far and how often your fly in the future.

8. Aim to give gifts that are eco-friendly and may inspire others, or give experiences/your time. Avoid cards wrapped in plastic and use craft paper and paper tape when wrapping if you can.

9. In normal times, look to reduce your annual car mileage by switching to public transport or enjoying days out closer to home and consider an electric or hybrid vehicle next time you are changing your car.

10. As well as at home, explore any changes that you and those around you may be able to consider making – at school, at work, through clubs and groups and so on.

You can find us on Facebook by searching for Plastic Free Home or at http://www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk.

Our #lovenature campaign has to-date been featured in:

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