My name is Nigel Dunn, I live across the Atlantic pond, in a small and ordinary village on the outskirts of Nottingham, England. By day I am a mild mannered worker within the justice system (Family Court Judge) and a Foster Carer (Local Authority) living at home with my family and numerous animal and bird strays/waifs/rescues and many of the great unwanted….all are welcome here.
I have long been someone who has recognised that our blue planet needs our respect, our care and our attention and that the voiceless in our world need a voice, animals especially. From my early school years I knew my priorities weren’t quite the same as everyone else’s, I wasn’t one of the crowd, while my schoolmates were pulling legs of crane-flies and trashing the fields with rubbish I was getting into fights trying to save and stop them, the die was cast from an early age!
I have always quietly devoted any time I have to try to help others, to preserve what we hold precious and to try and promote love for our natural world and its animals. It has always seemed a thankless task and I have despaired at times about how humans can have such disregard for their fellow man, for the planet and for the creatures we share it with. But early last year a light appeared at the end of the tunnel, I discovered through social media (Instagram in particular) that there were so many like minded people out there, all who shared my thoughts, values and dreams, this really gave me a real boost and a renewed energy….and not before time as the time we have left to change is becoming increasingly precious.
My particular local crime fighting litter picking expeditions are carried out for at least an hour everyday, but I don’t battle alone, every would-be planet-saver needs a side-kick, mine is my trusty canine friend ‘Angel’ and we walk our patch day in day out in all weathers beside our tidal River Trent and along streams, drains, farm tracks, pathways, across huge fields and lengthy hedgerows. We find and collect all manner of litter and trash, single use plastics bottles, tins, glass bottles, food wrappers, fast food containers, polystyrene sheets, chunks and micro-pieces, straws, balloons, fishing line, hooks, rope, ghost netting, oil drums…the list goes on and on. I feel tidal river cleans are particularly important as the next stop for trash and litter from here is into the open oceans, or in our case the cold and steely grey North Sea. We walk armed with empty bags and sacks, gloves and litter-pickers/grabbers and always return home with something, its just the quantity that varies. We recycle most of what we find into our domestic bins, or by taking articles/finds to the local recycling centres. We try to make use of all we find, to give it another life, making artwork, repurposing containers, upcycling etc, we are currently building a greenhouse out of 2 litre plastic bottles (threaded together with ties and bamboo canes!)
A vital part of spreading the green message locally I feel is education, in particular with children, knowledge is power and within children it can be a powerful thing and that can then be a catalyst for change, promoting awareness and fresh thinking among their friends and their families. We are already involved with local junior schools and have promoted environmental awareness projects to them about littering, recycling and pollution. Mya (our foster child) recently did a presentation about the damage and destruction caused to the environment and wildlife by balloons and from mass balloon releases, she persuaded her school to change its policy and now they no longer support such events! We are currently negotiating with other schools to support this message and these bans.
We have teamed up with a children’s author and purchased environmental themed books for school libraries to spread the eco message about single use plastics, recycling and pollution. Two amazing books, ‘Duffy’s Lucky Escape’ and ‘Marli’s Tangled Tale’ deal with the relationship between humans and pollution and the natural world. (www.wildlifeheroes.com) We are hoping to obtain funding from local businesses to fund the purchase of more of these books so we can gift them to schools county wide.
What difference can one person make, said 7 billion people, every difference! Become part of the change, be that person, be that local hero and you can become a superhero for nature and help to save and preserve our precious plant!