Top tips for a greener Christmas

Date: Wednesday 13th November 2019
The Bray family (left to right) Anna, Chris, Amy and Emma
The Bray family (left to right) Anna, Chris, Amy and Emma

AMY Bray, aged 17, of Matterdale, has been described as “Eden’s Greta Thunberg” as, like the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, she is urging others to wake up to the ecological crisis.

Amy wraps a Christmas present in recycled pape
Amy wraps a Christmas present in recycled pape

Since a young age, Amy has been fascinated by the natural environment and has adored all living things.

“The spark had been glowing all my life because I cared,” she said. “I cared about our oceans, about wood sorrel under a tree, about a bee on a flower. I marvelled at all living things and I wanted to study more and I realised that soon there would no longer be anything left to study.”

In more recent times, she has set her sights on becoming a marine conservationist and has become more aware of the acute danger facing the planet. “I realised that the time to act is now,” said Amy, who is the daughter of Emma and Chris, and has a sister, Anna.

After influencing her family to go plastic-free and to live more sustainably, she wanted to share with the wider public their discoveries — and their motivation — through her charity, Another Way.

So, what got her started? She realised that she had to do something, because she was “one of the seven billion people on this planet”.

“I started with changing myself and my family. We went plastic-free two years ago and we tried to lower our carbon footprint in every way we could. It was tricky, but manageable in small steps, and I wanted to help other people do the same,” she said.

“I began my marine conservation campaign, Devotion to Ocean, at my school. I gave talks about plastic pollution, I established a plastic-free shop and I worked with the school to reduce our plastic waste. I then started to give awareness sessions and advice to schools and community groups across Cumbria and beyond, which inspired my educational charity, Another Way, which I founded in January.”

There was a pressing need for action because without the environment, all living things would not have a home. “That eventuality is real and far too close to happening,” said Amy.

“The science and the evidence is out there showing it will happen. We all want a future and to have this we need to respect the place we live in. This starts with you, me and everyone, whether that be individuals, communities, companies or governments.

“My focus is what you and I can do. What can we as individuals and communities do to lessen our impact on the planet? What can we do to allow it to regenerate and properly breathe again so that we all have a future?”

Another Way’s official launch took place in August with Another Waynwright Day, on which more than 600 people climbed 120 Wainwright fells in atrocious weather. Amy said the turnout was hugely heart-warming and demonstrated a true commitment to sustainable living.

The charity provides environmental conservation education to the public using leaflets, talks, activities, events and community projects. Its key goal for 2020 is for each school in the UK to have an Another Way ambassador whose role it would be to instil the philosophy of sustainable living in other pupils and their families.