Call to action for young people to go green and help protect National Park

Young people are being encouraged to get involved in the Government’s “Year of Green Action” and do their bit to help protect and enhance the South Downs National Park.

 As part of the #iwill4nature campaign, the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has five simple ways in which young people across Hampshire and Sussex can get involved in helping the amazing natural environment on their doorstep and to share #iwill4nature and #SouthDowns.

Jonathan Dean, Education Officer at the Authority, suggests five easy ways young people might want to take action to help the environment of the National Park.

1. #iwill – Save water where possible at home and school

Simple measures such as reducing the amount of water used when brushing your teeth or washing up can make a big difference. The South East is currently an area of severe water stress with insufficient water to meet the needs of people and the environment. Average water use is 150 litres per person per day – against a national average of 135. 

2. #iwill – Reduce plastic consumption

Any type of plastic has the potential to end up in the natural environment and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Help the environment by avoiding plastic straws, using reusable bags, and get a refillable water bottle.

3. #iwill – Pick up litter

The message is simple – bin it or take it home!

4. #iwill – Explore and enjoy the National Park!

The National Park has fantastic opportunities for walking, cycling or horse-riding, or add a twist to your adventures by searching for our South Downs GeoTour geocaches while out and about. By families getting outside and exploring the National Park, young people will have a better understanding of the special qualities of the area and why it’s worth protecting.

For more details visit https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoy/geocaching/

5. #iwill – Volunteer

The National Park depends on hundreds of people who give up their spare time to carry out volunteer activities to protect the area’s unique landscape and precious wildlife. There are dozens of local conservation groups with opportunities. Find out more here:  www.southdowns.gov.uk/care-for/volunteering/conservation-groups/

Jonathan DeanJonathan said: “We’re proud to be supporting the Year of Green Action and really want to encourage the tens of thousands of young people living in and around the National Park to become custodians of this amazing landscape. After all, it’s their National Park and they are ultimately the future.

“Taking action to help the environment doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, but collectively we can all make a difference to help protect this beautiful and diverse landscape.

“There is also a double benefit to environmental social action as there’s now strong evidence that spending time in nature helps improve mental health and wellbeing.”

For more information on the #iwill campaign visit www.iwill.org.uk

The SDNPA Education Team works with schools, students and outdoor learning providers to support learning in, and about, the National Park. For more information visit https://learning.southdowns.gov.uk

The Year of Green Action (YOGA) is a year-long drive calling on young people to spearhead environmental action. It comes as figures show one in 10 children do not regularly spend time outdoors

The Government’s 2019 Year of Green Action draws together local and national initiatives to promote caring for the environment and inspiring people to take action. A key initiative is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) pledging to the #iwill campaign, which aims to make social action a part of life for 10 to 20 year olds across the UK.

 The #iwill campaign, launched by The Prince of Wales in 2013, will this year focus on growing environmental youth social action with #iwill4nature.