Emiel Durbal, graphic designer and volunteer ambassador for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, highlights the plight of the bumblebee through design, and with a growing Instagram following, uses this as a platform to reach a wider audience and influence change.
Emiel takes great pride and passion in conserving the natural world and is proud to represent the Trust as a young volunteer ambassador to help raise awareness and inspire his generation to take action for these amazing creatures. Emiel recently donated a T-shirt design for our Teemill range, to raise money for the Trust and in turn, to help the UK’s bumblebee population. Read Emiel’s latest blog.
With a global population standing at 7.8 billion and set to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, we may consider ourselves insignificant as individuals. The choices we make every single day make a huge difference to our environment and the natural world. Humans were always an integral part of nature and in the early stage of our evolution we were primitive and resourceful but with population growth, globalisation and urbanization we have become incredibly disconnected from our roots to the point where it is understandable to think that we are no longer part of nature.
The disconnection and lack of obligation we have from nature are the main reasons we fail to protect it. Rachael Carson wrote, “But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a realisation of how dependent we are on the natural world and the value it holds to support our mental and physical wellbeing. The source of the virus itself was believed to be a wet market in China, a hot-spot for illegal animal trafficking and a place where wild animals are kept alongside livestock – dead and alive. Because of this hygiene standards are difficult to achieve, allowing a multitude of viruses to evolve and infect other species. This is a testament to why we should be working to protect the natural world and not against it.
Change starts at home. Working to support your local wildlife is a great place to start and something you can do to make a huge difference.
Due to urbanisation, we have lost many of our wild spaces. If you own a garden you can set aside patches of land to allow native species of wildflower and other pollinator-friendly plants to fill in. If you have enough land, you could even plant native tree species to offset your carbon use and reduce your footprint. Stop using artificial fertilisers, pesticides, and weed killers as these can disrupt and cause damage to food webs. Instead use biological methods of pest control, manually remove unwanted weeds by hand and use organic composts for planting and fertilisation.
Reducing meat and dairy consumption have been a widely recognised step to reducing your carbon footprint as animal agriculture accounts for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second-highest source of emissions, greater than all forms of transportation combined. Shifting to more plant-based meals, eating more fruits and vegetables is a step in the right direction. Growing your own produce or supporting locally produced products is a much more sustainable approach. In the UK especially, many local farmers pride themselves on producing organic, pesticide-free, and hormone-free crops. Despite how our advancements in technology, we can never replace or replicate the systems that have sustained life on Earth for hundreds of millions of years but we can use it to protect what we have. As inhabitants of this system, we all have an obligation to protect it to ensure it can sustain life for millions of years to come. With advancements in science and technology, we are aware of how grave the damage of anthropogenic activity is.
We must not underestimate the power of social media and networking to raise awareness and shed light on the causes most important to you as we are more connected now than ever before. With the effectiveness and rapidity of online communications, we are able to work together to kick start campaigns, collaborate and network with like-minded individuals and most importantly, use your platform to educate others regardless of how many people you can reach. We must better understand our dependence on the natural world. By educating children about sustainable living and empowering local communities to make a change, we can continue to protect the eco-systems that have supported our existence for thousands of years.
You can play your part too. From planting bee-friendly flowers in your garden such as lavender and honeysuckle to becoming a member and supporting the conservation work of the Trust.