Auntie K's Letter

To Evie and Oscar, Rex, Star, Alex, Charlie, Sky and Chas ,

I'm not always a very present or hands-on Aunt but you all know how much I love you and whenever we do have time together for stories and hugs it's always extremely special to me. Thinking of your futures makes me sad, because I have spent the whole of your lives working hard to keep the natural world safe from development and other damage, and to get politicians and governments to properly value wildlife, to help bring animals and plants back, and to give us all more open green spaces.

So far, I have failed.

I don't think your parents fully comprehend what we are facing, and I'm not sure they are preparing you for it either. Most of the time I am glad about that because honestly, it's hard to be in the know.

It's hard to see what is changing, and to think about how things used to be just a few short decades ago - will you ever be rudely woken by the chatter or birdsong? Will you even have seasons to notice, ever breathe in salty sea air? Already when we go to the coast and you run about on the sand making sandcastles and splashing in and out of the waves, I can't help but notice that the sea doesn't smell anymore or worry about how polluted that water might be. It makes me feel sick to know how few insects there are today, and that so much of our oceans are dead.

But I also remember that even though I was brought up in a relatively rural area, I never understood much about the natural world - and what I could do to help - until I was a lot older. I too took wildlife and the colour and sounds of nature for granted. So I know it's not too late for you.

I want you to grow up in a world where there are beavers, and firecrests and orchids, and fat, gnarly trees. So I remain hopeful, and I try hard to stay upbeat and positive when I am with you. Because who knows how you will shape your own environments, your own destinies? You could change the world, my wonderful, crazy nieces and nephews - and I'm here to help you when you are ready to begin.

All my love, Auntie K

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