LIFESTYLE: Nine-year-old author shares his top six tips to save the planet

After creating A City Called L8R – a sustainability-themed adventure published in partnership with Worcester Bosch – nine-year-old school pupil Sam Debenham has shared his top six tips everyone can do to make the world greener and cleaner

Aged nine,Sam Debenham, from Northampton’s Delapre School has his sights set on a greener future – and after co-authoring his first sustainability themed storybook, A City Called L8R in partnership with Worcester Bosch, has shared his top tips that every family can follow for a greener future.

Sam’s winning entry, titled “A City Called L8R”, triumphed over all the creative ideas submitted and sees young friends Alfie and Ava travel forward in time to show an optimistic view of how the world could look if we increased our protection of the planet. The imaginary world featured wind turbines, no cars, and lots of wildlife.

Inspired by his own creations, Sam has given his tips for how children and families across the nation could make the world a more sustainable place to live.

#1: Play with your old plastics, by junk modelling

Sam uses materials he already has around the house, or bits ready to be thrown away or recycled, to create innovative pieces.

He comments: “One great tip that is especially fun on a rainy day is junk modelling. With a great imagination, anything could be turned into a new toy or piece of stationary. All you need is some scrap that’s going in the recycle anyway, and your imagination! Not only can junk modelling be fun, but it can it saves waste and gives everyday items a second life.”

“You can make anything from dreamcatchers and pen support holders made from plastic bottles, wrapping paper, and cardboard tubes. My favourite thing to make was an obstacle course made from old tubes for my hamster.”

#2: Fix your old furniture

To help with the deforestation problem, Sam helps his family upcycle old furniture to make it good-as-new.

Sam recalls: “My mum upcycled her old kitchen chairs by painting them green to match the new sideboard! My grandparents gave me their old, tired bookshelf which I decorated with my favourite LEGO posters.”

“My grandad and I make birdfeeders and birdhouses with off-cuts of wood. I love seeing families of birds come to my garden and eat the seeds we put in the feeder and the houses. We get to see so many different birds, and I love seeing the robins and blue tits. I enjoy making things and it gives you a warm feeling inside knowing you’ve helped the planet.”

#3: Scooter to school

One tip to get the whole family feeling healthy and to save the planet is to walk as much as possible.

Sam says: “Whenever we can, we try to walk to school. It’s good to get some fresh air and exercise and of course, it’s much better for the environment. I also love riding on my scooter and roller-skating as a fun way to do exercise.”

#4: Meat Free Mondays

Sam is aware that changing up your eating habits could have a huge effect on the planet as it reduces your carbon footprint and improves your health.

Sam comments: “Using your local shops or having a meat free day is something we do at home  –  every week, we have some meat free dinners to make sure we’re doing our part for the environment. My favourite dinners are vegetably curry and stir fry! We’ve also noticed that when we go out to eat as a family there are more and more choices that don’t include meat.”

“We also grow our own herbs, fruits, and vegetables at home. My grandad has an amazing apple tree and strawberry bush. Sometimes when I’m hungry, I sneak into the garden and have a nice little snack!”

#5: No worries about water waste

There are three simple and everyday things Sam suggests that people do every day to ensure that you’re reducing your carbon footprint, through energy and water usage.

Sam says: “It is also important to save energy whenever you can. I used to leave my games console on standby, but now If I know I won’t be using it for over 5 minutes, I make sure I turn it off properly before I’m done.”

“Saving water is also important. It’s okay to have baths sometimes, I love them because they help me to think! But it is also important to take quick showers whenever you can to save water being wasted. You can do the same with your toothbrush. Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth, turn it on to wet your toothbrush and again when you’ve finished.”

#6: Read, learn, and discover

Sam was inspired to help the planet by interacting with the world around us. He believes that by understanding the planet, you can understand how you can give it a helping hand.

He adds: “I think it is important to understand more about the planet by finding out about nature and climate change. During lockdown, watching the birds outside my house made me want to do my best to look after them. I asked my grandad what we could do together, and he suggested creating birdfeeders. That’s how we started upcycling with the old wood scraps together!”

“I wanted to spend more time walking than taking the car because I read books about greenhouse gases and climate change. These books explained the harm that cars do, and how we could make small changes to help. Reading and exploring the world around you helps you to learn more about the world we live in.”

You can read more about the Storybook campaign here:

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio