Mark Funnell's Letter

Dear Auss and Fran,

It’s 2030 and you’re 30 and 28 now. It’s really hard to get my head around this. It was so little time ago that we bounced you on our knees as babies.

I’m sure you remember the photo. Mum sat you together on the sofa and propped a copy of the magazine I used to edit, Your Environment, in your hands. Auss you were three and Fran you were just one.

Two decades later a big part of me feels I’m failing you, your generation and the next.

Back then, I was all for ‘telling like it is’. Ferocious storms, torrential downpours and flooded living rooms, but also desiccated river beds, deaths brought forward by heat events and continuous temperature records that just looked plain scary.

As a profession, we quickly realised that you can’t terrify people into action, only inaction and denial.

Now many climate and nature activists like me are focussing relentlessly on solutions. It feels like it’s working. But it feels late. The climate crisis is upon us.

So come 2030 my deepest and most heartfelt hope is that you look back on the early ‘20s as the tipping point. That people met the most violent heatwave we’ve ever known, the extreme winter floods that are now annual events, the nature that’s been squeezed to near oblivion with… a green revolution. Planting millions of trees every year. Helping endangered species bounce back. Looking after landscapes so they lock up more carbon and absorb more water. Making places more resilient. And the curve beginning to bend back towards nature recovery.

Of course the impacts of climate change fall hardest on the least well off communities with the smaller carbon footprints. In this country, not just overseas. This is inequitable and iniquitous. My pledge is to never lose sight of this over the next 10 years and beyond. It’s one of the reasons I am proud to work for the National Trust – 125 years ago our founder Octavia Hill campaigned for more beautiful places with clean air that were accessible to the poor in the most polluted parts of London.

This is a fight that can unite us all. And I won’t be giving up.

I love you with all my heart.


Mark Funnell
Communications and Campaigns Director
National Trust

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