A while ago I entered a competition being run by Ecotricity to find the ‘Young Green Briton’s of the Year’ to represent 4 categories; Energy, Transport, Food and Nature. I was of course interested in entering the Nature category and used the video I made addressing the party leaders as my entry.
Well, a few weeks ago I got an email through saying I was down to the last 3 which felt fantastic. But then a few days after that I heard the amazing news that I had won the nature category and would get to be mentored by Simon King and speak in a Young Green Briton's Debate at the WOMAD festival.
So last weekend we drove down to Wiltshire to spend 2 days at the festival. But first I must mention the Gloucester eco friendly motorway services. What a great place to stop for a rest and a drink. It is an amazing building packed with eco friendly technology, a farm shop and really good food.
Next we headed straight for the festival, got parked up and then went to find the Ecotricity stand to meet the team. We had to walk through the Well Being area and there were some really different things going on in there. There were people humming together, there was yoga stuff and then there were even things like Gong Baths! We had loads of time to look round as the debate wasn't until Sunday.
The Ecotricity area was jam packed with people so we couldn't get to their stand, but least I got to have a look at the stage we would be on (or so I thought)!
The Ecotricity Stage
As we were walking round, we got a call from Helen Taylor (the brilliant Ecotricity lady who organised everything for us). They had seen the weather forecast for Sunday, so she was calling to say meet her at the Siam stage which was the new venue for the debate. So off we wandered.
I had been a little bit nervous after seeing the Ecotricity stage, but I was quite shocked when I saw the size of the Siam stage. It was indoors and enormous.
Siam tent on Sunday morning before the gates opened
Helen explained how great WOMAD had been about wanting the debate to go well and move us to an indoor stage. I think I went a bit quiet as all I could think about were the thousands of people standing in front of the stage as we were talking. Although I have to say the band that were playing at the time were so good, they were called Magnifico.
We said goodbye to Helen and went for a wander that involved lots of hats, well it was a festival afterall. I think Harley got all the best ones!
It was such a great afternoon with sunshine, interesting music. loads to see and fascinating people.
What a different day it was on Sunday. Just as well I don't mind a bit of mud.
The promised rain started falling and kept falling. We had backstage passes, so we were allowed to get into the main arena for a walk round before any of the crowds gathered. It looked totally different without all the crowds.
We headed over to the Siam tent ready to meet up with the Ecotricity team, the other young speakers and all the mentors.
When we arrived at the stage Helen was already there and then everyone else started to turn up. I had already had a great chat over the phone with Simon King earlier in the week to talk about the debate and about birds of course. Standing on that stage and looking out was quite nerve racking, so I decided to sit for a while and gather all my thoughts in my head. I really wanted this debate to go well, to do my very best as a voice for nature.
I could see Simon walking through the tent and he came straight over to talk, which was so good of him.
The tent was still empty and we thought no-one wanted to come and listen, but then we heard that the gates to the arena hadn't opened yet. But then when they did, masses of people just appeared from no-where. I had good chats with the other young speakers who had won their categories, all the mentors and the chair of the debate Jon Snow. The other winners and mentors were:
Energy - Megan Hanson - mentor Dale Vince (Ecotricity Founder)
Transport - Nerys Pickup - mentor Robert Llewellyn (actor, comedian, writer and electric car fanatic)
Food - Noella Usborne - mentor Geetie Singh-Watson (organic food entrepreneur)
And then it was time to take our places and get started with the debate.
I have to say, Jon Snow was great at introducing us all and guiding us through the talks and questions. But rather than tell you about the debate, here is the video of the whole debate. It is all fascinating to watch, but my first bit starts from 25:30 in.
Once the debate was over, the crowd started to disappear quickly, but I grabbed a quick picture on my phone to show how full the tent was.
We then had time to talk more with all the mentors, Jon Snow and of course Helen, before heading out in to the rain and mud again. It was also great to get some time with Dale Vince and talk more about the Hen Harrier situation with him.
Here are a few more pictures from an amazing weekend.
With Helen Taylor
It was an absolutely amazing opportunity and I am so grateful to Ecotricity and WOMAD for letting the voices and thoughts of my generation be heard. If just a few people left the festival feeling that they could and should give more back to nature, then it will all have been worth it.