Local environmental campaigner Jonathan Whittaker is asking people to ‘adopt a traffic light’ on 24 July to spread awareness about the climate change crisis 24/7.
Jonathan, a dentist who lives in Abbeymead, Gloucester, and is a member of St Andrew’s Churchdown, says the idea for a special day for planet awareness came to him through prayer and over 20 years of campaigning with numerous environmental charities and organisations including Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of Earth.
“I started getting involved in environmental campaigning in 2003. Being moved by the impact of the war in Iraq and other factors, I became more aware of the injustices in the world and particularly the damage being done to the Earth.
“I recall driving down a country lane and two stoats bounded out in front of me, and I thought how sweet they were but then they stopped in the road and started fighting. I was struck with an awareness that they shouldn’t be fighting amongst themselves when there was an even bigger threat bearing down on them (my car)… and saw how this related to our issues with climate change and the human impact on the Earth’s resources.”
Jonathan’s faith has been instrumental to the development of his environmental work.
“I have for a vast part of my life accepted God’s guidance and His plans for me. I have prayed a lot and He has guided me slowly to this position. I could never have come up with what He has helped me set up. It would have been too complicated to envisage from nothing.”
We need to think about the care of our planet 24/7.
Jonathan has developed ‘Protect our planet, 24/7’ day, with the aim to spread engagement globally though collective local community involvement. The concept is simple but demonstrative and while not overtly disruptive, aims to raise widespread awareness of the urgency of addressing the environmental crisis.
Jonathan says, “The dates 24/7/23 – 24/7/24 are critical to the concept of a ‘Protect our planet, 24/7’ day. It is an activity everyone can get involved in, as we all need nature to survive.
“Since we are constantly being bombarded with messages to consume, I believe we need a counter message, constantly reminding us to protect our planet, twenty-four seven. We do that by transforming our local traffic lights, by ‘adopting’ them, into a flashing instruction of hope – where now the colours signify (red) ‘Stop!’, (amber) ‘Think’, (green) ‘Green planet’. Simply tie a ribbon of any colour to a traffic light post, or leave a flower at your local lights with your written message on it if you wish.
“The more people that do this, the clearer the visual message to our political, financial and corporate leaders, to act now on human-induced climate change and habitat destruction. This ‘micro’ demonstration has a very low carbon footprint, is undamaging and non-disruptive in a caring way. Yet it is a visible, powerful message that is repeatable, simply and freely to all, across the globe, in the places where fossil fuel and its damage are greatest.”
Jonathan set up i4one – a website offering information and advice on environmental issues – the name derived from the statement ‘I for one will not stand by and let the Earth die’. It includes a handy ‘tick list’ showing small ways to make a big difference: I 4 ONE Tick List – I 4 one… will not stand by and let our world die!
Jonathan plans to develop the concept further and present various talks on the topic of ‘One year to save nature’ throughout the year. If you’d like him to come to your church, please contact him on moc.l1708687658iamto1708687658h@82r1708687658ekatt1708687658ihw_j1708687658
Jonathan also invites you to spread the word or share your photos of your ribbon on a traffic light on social media and on the i4one website with the reasons why you are taking part.