During 2021 our blog posts are going to explore the theme of regeneration – we’ll be inviting guest bloggers to share their stories alongside the usual posts from members of the CPRE Bedfordshire team.
The theme was inspired by CPRE’s Regeneration Manifesto ‘Regenerate our countryside, regenerate ourselves’; a post-corona manifesto which understands the ways that the economy, the environment and our physical and mental health all linked.
What do you mean by regeneration?
We know that regeneration is one of those words that gets used a lot, and that it can mean different things to different people. We hope that our posts this year will show some of that diversity but broadly speaking we understand it mean ways in which people and places might be renewed, revived or restored.
Living Countryside Awards
In 2021 CPRE Bedfordshire’s Living Countryside Awards will be going digital. This a regeneration of our own, as we adapt and renew our flagship awards to meet the demands of social distancing and covid-19.
We also want to celebrate rural businesses and organisations that are surviving and thriving despite the challenges, focusing on how they are doing this and what they can learn from each other.
The start of a new year is a great time to think about regeneration as January often sees people making resolutions for the year ahead.
Shelly Dennison, our digital engagement officer, shares two regeneration related resolutions:
1. Local walks
Once the vaccination programme gets under way and the covid-19 situation starts to improve I want to remember what I learned in 2020 about the walks and nature on my doorstep. Rather than a weekend walk automatically meaning jumping in the car and heading for somewhere like Dunstable Downs (or beyond!) I hope it will often still mean setting off on foot. This is better for us and for the planet. Less traffic on the roads means less pollution, less noise, less use of fossil fuels. It also means we get to appreciate our local places better as we see them change through the seasons and get to know them in a new way. It’s a slower, less hurried way of recharging the batteries.
2. Keep learning
One of the books I received for Christmas was Writing Wild by Kathryn Aalto which profiles 25 women, from Dorothy Wordsworth to modern writers like Helen Macdonald, who have written about nature and the outdoors. One of the best things about the book was that it introduced me to some new writers from diverse backgrounds. As a result, one of my resolutions for 2021 is to read more nature writing from perspectives that aren’t white and middle class.
During 2020 CPRE put together some great features, which gave more people a voice like the one on ‘Celebrating Black history through five English landscapes’ which made me think much more deeply about how countryside access needs to be regenerated and whose voices we are listening to as we work towards that. Expanding my reading is one way to keep learning about these issues.