CATS Conference Speech, 2017

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In 90 days you can plant a seed, water it, watch it grow, blossom and then harvest the flower, fruit or vegetable. You can share that with others - by giving a gift of sweet-smelling flowers or perhaps cooking up a tasty meal and inviting friends round for dinner. You can share the recipe and encourage others to add new ingredients. You can harvest the seeds from the fruit and flowers and plant them next year. You can share the seeds too.

 

90 days is the difference between zero and something new, the difference between empty space and the beginning of a new horizon. 90 days is not infinity - you won't get bored. Something will change in the world around you and you can be that changemaker. Even a small action like picking up litter in the park, saying hello to the old people in your street, deciding never to buy a Big Mac again! All these things add up to a bigger change in the world as a whole. 

So where is that empty space in your community? It might not be a literal space, not a geographical place, but an emptiness in people’s lives, a lack of something, or something that has been destroyed or is threatened.

I bet you can picture it now? The broken park benches that no-one ever sits on any more? The field that used to be full of butterflies and bees, the swimming pool that closed down for winter repairs and never opened again, the sad girl in the playground who doesn't speak your language…

The world is waiting for small acts of kindness. That means you don't have to be a billionaire or a president to make a difference. But you have to be motivated and you should try to see your project through to the end. That’s where doing things together helps.

What will it take to make you do something? Are you itching to get going or is it a bit scary cos there’s so many things that need to be changed in the world? Are you afraid to fail? Please believe me when I say that you can't make things worse! Your actions as change-makers are really needed.

Often when there is an accident or someone is sick in a public place, people pretend not to see. They walk past or they look the other way. They think they need to be experts and they don't feel qualified to help. They are afraid of getting involved or even afraid of making things worse. But if the sick person is choking on a piece of food, he or she could die. That person could even be you. Would you want everyone to walk past ignoring you?

Doing something matters. Doing something can even save a life. Often all you need to do is to tell others - bring people together to share the problem. Eventually one of them will know what to do or suggest an idea. They might be a doctor or they might have learned first aid. Someone will have a mobile phone so you should always ring for help. Meanwhile the person who is choking knows they have not been abandoned. You and others are there with them and things are going to be alright. Someone is probably making a cup of tea and someone is even telling jokes. Laughter can be a great help when we are dealing with challenges.

I want you to imagine that the world is like that sick person choking. Poor Mother Earth - she’s coughing her guts up, she’s on her last legs! And people are rushing around, too busy to notice. And the few people who do notice are too scared to say anything or else they don’t know what to do. Some people have given up hope - they have buried their heads in the sand or they have gone a bit crazy. Some people are simply praying which can make them feel better but prayers are not enough any more.

Mother Earth keeps on coughing and being sick - she’s all wobbly.  She needs your help. What can you do?

And not simply what can you do but what can you do together?

Is there a way everyone can help? Can helping be fun?

Are there some people that you never thought of including before? Can they help? The quiet people, the shy people, the people who maybe don't speak your language or those live on the other side of the town or in another country, across the sea even. You young people were all born in the internet age. Used wisely, the internet can bring people together to share problems and solutions.

I have just come back from a very sick Mother Earth. She is in the Amazon and she really is on her last legs. Every little thing that you decide to do to make the world a better place, helps Mother Earth too. So make connections - think of opposites. If you are in the city reach out to people in the countryside. If you are all the same colour skin reach out to people who are different. If you’re good at subjects like and English maths find people who are good at using their hands to make things.

Imagine that you’re a butterfly. Feel the beat of your wing in the garden that grew from the seeds you planted 90 days ago. It moves the air and many butterfly wings beating send ripples of movement across the world. It is good powerful energy and when it reaches the poor old sick Mother Earth in Amazonia it makes her feel a bit better.

For every challenge that you CATS and Kittens do more good energy reaches far away places. When we all do what we can in our own community the effect is MASSIVE! 

Good luck!