We all know that, without drastic change, time is running out for our planet. Presumably, that’s why the organisers of the annual Global Earth Day decided that this year, the theme would ambitiously be “Restore Our Earth”! You don’t need us to bombard you with facts and figures, dates and dire predictions, in regards to climate change. We’ve all seen David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and numerous other knowledgeable and passionate people, urging those in power to step in and make the drastic changes that our planet so desperately needs. Rather, this Earth Day, we thought that we’d reflect how The Outdoors Group, as a company, is trying to do our bit for both our little corner of the world, and the bigger picture.
If you’ve visited (what was) Exeter Forest School (and now is The Outdoors School) over the last few years, you’ll have probably noticed the sign greeting you as you walk up to site. Quoting the aforementioned great, are the words ‘No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.’ We chose this quote because quite simply, it’s at the heart of everything we do, and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Every time a child or young person joins us in the woods, one of our priorities is to instill a love and respect of the outdoors within them. By facilitating a connection with the natural world whilst they are young, our hope is that they will grow up wanting to protect it and stand up for it when they see it being threatened. Just by having positive, fulfilling experiences outside, we believe that subconsciously these learners will associate these feelings with being outside and will be more empowered and motivated to care for the world around them, as they leave our woods and head off on their own journeys.
Complementing this strand of ecological education, is a strong desire for us, as a company, to make noticeable, measurable changes to our environmental footprint in how we run across all areas of the business. This ranges from the very large and ambitious to the small, every day decisions that we make.
As a business that gets through a lot of consumable goods, we try to make sure we buy ethically where possible. We’ve signed up Good Club, an ethical wholesaler, for buying things like washing up liquid and hand sanitiser in bulk, we have a company ban on buying from Amazon – preferring to try and support independent, local (where possible) businesses if we can and are doing all we can to reduce the amount of waste created by our sessions. We’re encouraging people to work from home (where possible) in order to reduce the amount of car travel done in our name and are working on becoming a paperless company.
We also have some fantastically ambitious long term goals. We are hoping that by 2030 we will not only be carbon neutral but will be a carbon negative company. This should also contribute to two of other goals, to become a Certified B Corporation company (a business that balances profit and purpose, working to use business as a force for good) and to join 1% For The Planet (giving 1% of profits to environmental causes). We’re aware that we have a lot to do to get there but between us, we’ve got the will and motivation to make sure that it happens.
Author: Hannah Durdin, Content Officer & Forest School Leader
Date: Thursday 22nd April 2021