Words by Abi Scaife
With knowledge comes power - and this applies to little more than it does climate action. While many people, particularly young people, are becoming concerned about the state of our planet, it can be hard to know what we can do to help.
This is where Jess and Bethia come in. Parents and neighbours with a passion for the planet, Jess and Bethia got talking and decided that, if no one else was going to step up, then they would.
Founded in 2020, their CIC – Planet & People – works to positively engage schools in climate action. This is mainly done through workshops and assemblies to help them think about the environment in their every day, and help leave their children with passion, and hope, for the future of the planet.
“We knew we had found something really powerful and important, we wanted to get the message out,” explains Jess Carter, one half of Planet & People. “We felt like it wasn't something schools were particularly able to do right now … they don't really have the resources or have the time in their schedules to include environmental stuff.”
Before Planet & People, Jess was an environmental professional, while Beth taught Geography for 13 years - making them pretty much perfect for helping kids understand our climate.
“I have been lucky enough to experience the natural value all around us for a long time and have my eyes open to what's here; not just in the rural environment, but everywhere,” explains Jess. “Our lives are absolutely dependent on how we look after the natural world … I think, more and more as we see the climate crisis come to light, you see that we've really got to do something. It's no longer just for experts. It's for everybody. We really need to play our part.”
In its simplest form - the mission of Planet & People is to empower people to make change for a better future. They're doing that in the best way that they can; by teaching children, who are the custodians of our planet’s future, along with families and businesses, who have such a huge effect on our world.
Much of Planet & People involves Jess and Bethia going into schools, where they run workshops that find fun, empowering and inclusive ways to engage young people and children with the environment.
“We've developed a workshop series called the Planet Action workshops … and it kind of came from COP26,” says Jess.
“We did a workshop called Speak Up, which was about how to get young people to use their voices and be part of the climate change conversation. Since then, we've come up with loads of really positive environmental workshops, which can call people to action and inspire young people to make a difference in their own lives, whether it's at school or at home. So that young people really can have a voice and can make a difference.”
In the last year and a half, Planet & People CIC have delivered these workshops to over 7000 children in the Devon area - making a difference in thousands of lives, and a ripple effect that will benefit the whole planet.
Bridging the gap between primary schools and climate change, the aim of Planet & People is to talk about hope and positivity. Eco-anxiety is so real, even among children, and Jess and Bethia want to do everything they can to help give these children hope that they can make a difference, as long as they are given the right information.
“Eco-anxiety is like any other type of anxiety - just break it down and realise that there's power in nature,” says Jess. “We just need to enjoy what we've got.”