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My top 10 highlights of being a Welsh Panda

 

I joined WWF Cymru as our Media and Campaigns Officer in June 2015 and since then, I’ve had the massive privilege of working on some pretty fantastic stuff. I’ll be moving on to a new role elsewhere in the New Year, but before I go, here are my top 10 highlights of being a Welsh Panda…

1. Croissants, flags, and bicycles

Paris picnic at Senedd buildingMembers of the Stop Climate Chaos Cymru coalition at the National Assembly for the Bastille day Paris Picnic © Stop Climate Chaos Cymru

The first blog I wrote for WWF was about Stop Climate Chaos Cymru’s Bastille Day event at the Senedd last year. We got together there for a French-themed afternoon to look ahead to the Paris climate conference later in the year—which eventually led to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. We got lots of Assembly Members there riding our very special bicycle and pledging their support for tough action to tackle climate change here in Wales.

2. Futuristic marine robots

Here's Thomas out in Milford Haven just before he set off on Phase I. © Fergus Kennedy/Skylark/WWF-UKHere’s Thomas out in Milford Haven just before he set off on Phase I. © Fergus Kennedy/Skylark/WWF-UK

One of the first things I got to work on was the first phase of ‘Thomas the marine robot’. We went down to Milford Haven to see him float off to go and investigate the Celtic Deep. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side that time, but fast forward to May this year and he set off from Cornwall to go and gather lots of data and images that will help WWF, governments, and people who use our seas plan and manage them much better!

3. Warm homes for everyone

A small model home wearing a red, knitted woolen hat and scarf.Improving the energy efficiency of Welsh homes will reduce emissions, create jobs, and tackle fuel poverty. Image © iStock

A few months after I started, WWF Cymru launched a piece of research that showed just how much work remained to be done in terms of making sure that everyone in Wales benefits from a warm and energy-efficient home. That’s become a central part of our work since then, not only because of how it would help us cut our greenhouse gas emissions, but also create sustainable jobs for people in communities across Wales, and help tackle fuel poverty.

4. Yet more bicycles!

Despite the weather, hundreds of people came out to speak up for tough climate action. © Steve PopeDespite the weather, hundreds of people came out to speak up for tough climate action. © Steve Pope

Just before the Paris climate conference, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru organised a mass bike ride in Cardiff to give the then-Natural Resources Minister, Carl Sargeant, a good send off. Freezing cold and pouring down with rain, we ploughed on, and what a great day it was! We heard some really passionate speeches and some great entertainment, and it was fantastic to see so much support for Wales and the world working hard to fight against global climate change.

5. Party conference season

We got all four of Wales' party leaders signed up to Earth Hour 2016 - and Jeremy Corbyn even made an appearance!We got all four of Wales’ party leaders signed up to Earth Hour 2016 – and Jeremy Corbyn even made an appearance!

With Christmas gone, we were in election mode. I spent a lot of time at the start of this year travelling around Wales to different political parties’ conferences, speaking to hopeful AMs about what WWF Cymru wanted them to do if they got elected. There was even a cameo appearance from the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn! We spoke to hundreds of people in four conferences over about a month, and really helped get the message across about making Wales a truly sustainable country.

6. Lights out for Earth Hour

Every year, WWF Cymru spends a lot of time preparing for Earth Hour—our annual, global celebration of our planet. This year’s Earth Hour was a massive success. We got all of Wales’ local authorities signed up… we worked with two lovely communities in the West and South East of Wales to get them on board… we got lots of celebrity support… as well as all of the Assembly party leaders at the time… and hundreds of thousands of you—the wonderful Welsh public—took part too!

7. Size of Wales

A part of my job I’ve really enjoyed is coordinating our regular blogs from the field from my colleagues John Bett and Elias Kimaru in Kenya. In June, one phase of our relationship with the Cardiff-based charity, Size of Wales, ended, and another began. To mark the end of that phase, we produced this lovely little video to show just how much the support of the people of Wales means to our colleagues in Kenya, and how valuable it is to helping people and nature thrive.

8. A month of climate action

During our Local Climate Lobby this October, the National Assembly unanimously endorsed the Paris Agreement. Here's the graphic I shared on our social media channels when the news broke!During our Local Climate Lobby this October, the National Assembly unanimously endorsed the Paris Agreement. Here’s the graphic I shared on our social media channels when the news broke!

A couple of months ago, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru ran what we called a Local Climate Lobby—a month of action which saw people across Wales speaking up and telling their Assembly Members what they want politicians to do to tackle climate change. In all corners of Wales, we helped people get their voices heard. During the month, there was even a debate in the National Assembly in which our Assembly Members unanimously endorsed the Paris climate agreement, and we met with the Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths to send her off to this year’s iteration of the UN’s climate conference, COP 22, in Marrakech.

9. Our climate animations

As part of the month of action, I worked on a brilliant animation to help raise awareness about why the Welsh Government needs to act now to tackle climate change. We produced this snazzy bilingual animation to help us explain why the Government needs to do more to tackle climate change—to help protect our incredible wildlife, to help grow our communities, and to make sure that our beautiful country is fit for future generations.

10. My fantastic colleagues!

Here are some of us from WWF's office in Cardiff celebrating Size of Wales' Go Green Day earlier this year. © WWF CymruHere are some of us from WWF’s office in Cardiff celebrating Size of Wales’ Go Green Day earlier this year. © WWF Cymru

I couldn’t write a blog about what I’ve loved about working for WWF Cymru without mentioning the people I’ve worked with. Here in Cardiff, we’re a small core team of five and we share an office with the brilliant Celtic Seas Partnership team. I wouldn’t have loved working for WWF so much if it weren’t for all of these people, as well as everyone at WWF-UK’s Living Planet Centre in Woking, and our colleagues in Scotland, whom we affectionately call the Tartan Pandas! I haven’t stopped being in awe of how hard they all work and how dedicated they are to our mission.

Time to say goodbye…

As I prepare to move on from WWF Cymru, the one thing I take away from having worked here is this: whether it’s making sure that governments are doing all they can to tackle climate change; making the case for protecting the seas all over our planet that are so important to us; helping build sustainable communities in Africa that use their natural resources sustainably; or bringing people together to tackle the illegal wildlife trade and protect some of our world’s most iconic species—the work you support makes an incredible difference to our planet.

WWF’s mission is a world where people and nature thrive in harmony. Together, we can make huge strides towards that goal. I can’t wait to see how your support continues to make a difference to our amazing planet!

Merry Christmas… and goodbye for now!

Nadolig Llawen… a hwyl fawr am nawr!

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