Megan McCubbin has quickly become a household name. Megan is a skilled nature photographer, writer and television presenter and is well known for her co-hosting role on BBC’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch series with her stepfather, Chris Packham. The pair recently released their latest book ‘Back to Nature: How to love life - and save it’ which has received widespread praise. Megan’s experience as a conservationist ranges far and wide. She has worked in China to rehabilitate bears from the illegal wildlife trade as well as in Namibia to help with big cat conservation and teach environmental education. Now she is back home in the UK, contributing her knowledge and passion to bring back Britain’s recovering wildlife.
Hope as a feeling is powerful, not only because it motivates us to accomplish our dreams and visions but also because it brings us together. Hope is universal, whoever you are and whatever your background, we all have hope in common. Admittedly, whilst I feel full of hope most of the time, there are some days when I feel it is lacking but even in those times there is always something that pulls me up again.
Before the covid-19 pandemic, I remember one particular morning in London attending meetings discussing how we could better promote and communicate the messages around the climate crisis and the illegal wildlife trade. Not the lightest of subject matters and in that moment I was overwhelmed. On my way home I plugged in my headphones to cut out the surrounding world and made my way to Oxford Circus tube station.
As I was heading down the escalator, opposite me I noticed a family with a young boy who was sat upon his dads’ shoulders clutching a sign that read ‘the climate is changing, why aren’t we?’ This family was followed by another and another and another. I was so intrigued and surprised by what I was seeing that when I stepped off the escalator, I made an immediate U-turn to see what was going on above the ground.
I found myself, unexpectedly, right in the centre of one of the very first Fridays4Future marches. I stood in the middle of the road, surrounded by tens of thousands of young people who had all woken up that day and decided to make a difference. I watched their smiling faces as they walked by covered in face paint - some were singing and some were dancing - but all were full of hope. I went home that night with a spring in my step, a tear in my eye and a smile on my face because I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was hopeful too.
Faced with the images of Australia’s forests burning, Arctic ice-caps melting and even parts of Yorkshire flooding, the younger generations are rising up. After all, it is their future which will face the brunt of the climate crisis but they refuse to sit back and watch it unfold without a fight. Hope, education and action is the key. Stop and think for a second now… in 10 or 50 years time, what do you wish your future to be? Personally, I hope to live in a world where I don’t need to talk or write about the unprecedented rate of extinctions. I hope to live in a world that is reconnected with the wild; where I can be serenaded by nightingales singing at my kitchen window, or where I frequently see hen harriers dancing in the skies above. Ultimately though, I hope to live in a world where we - human beings - are more conscious of how we impact our planet. All of these things are possible, we just need to work at making them a reality.
Hope is never lost; it might occasionally hide or get misplaced, but it is never gone for good. Getting you to feel hopeless is one of the most powerful tools that can be used against you, because when you are made to feel like all hope is lost, you lose your sense of power and motivation making it so much harder for you to succeed. You must always cling onto it and never let anyone trick you into thinking that you don’t matter or that you will never stimulate change for a brighter future.
Your voice matters. In fact, your voice may well be the reason that others remain hopeful too. We are living in a time full of uncertainty, but with that uncertainty comes opportunity. A chance to harness the energy we invest in hoping and dreaming, and turn it into action. So never lose hope, no matter how dark and challenging the road ahead seems at times, because the tide is turning. Together, with hope, we are a force to be reckoned with.