Environmentalism now live streaming

George Monbiot show Rivercide inspires young people to 'live stream' documentaries about our rivers.

We began to realise the extent to which the river is already damaged and at risk of further damage.

The world's first live investigative journalism programme Rivercide has inspired children at a youth group to make their own video diary of their research into the pollution of the River Wye.

The show, hosted by environmental campaigner George Monbiot and award winning director Franny Abrahams, was broadcast independently and soon after the Redbrook Youth Group asked The Ecologist to publish its own report.

Emily, the 12-year-old director and editor wanted the voice of her generation to be heard on this issue and wanted to help make a difference.

Videos

She was already fairly fluent in using the CapCut video-editing app on her phone and undertook to lead the whole process.

Based on the voiceover text, she researched and found suitable graphics, and as you can see from the video, a whole load of young people were very keen to get involved:  presenting, in the water, recording voiceover, music and artwork.

Jessica concludes the video by saying: “We need to keep the river safe for all the plants, for the animals and for us.” 

Redbrook is in Gloucestershire, on the banks of the Wye, just below Monmouth. The Youth Group only started in May, operating under the wing of Redbrook Church.

During lockdown, many of the young people had been part of the Tie Dye Nativity film, which was featured in BBC national Breakfast NewsThis had inspired an interest in making more videos.

Jams

Redbrook Church has environmental commitment and is registered as an EcoChurch

Mark Bick, the youth club leader and local minister at Redbrook Church, said: "I had always hoped that the youth group would pick up an interest and commitment to environmental action and knew that was shared with other leaders. 

We began to realise the extent to which the river is already damaged and at risk of further damage.

"I had been in touch with the Save the Wye Group and when discussing possible subjects for a video, I mentioned the campaign and pilgrimage."

Bronwen Sequoia, 19, volunteers with the youth group and had studied river pollution in her A-Level biology course. She was able to explain the evidence and issues to the group in more depth.

Most of the young people spend time in the river during the summer. It is available to all, a short walk, no traffic jams, road pollution or crowds involved. Many of us are concerned about the environment and climate change.

Legislation

Mark added: "As Bronwen told us more, and we looked at the information from the Save The Wye campaign, we began to realise the extent to which the river is already damaged and at risk of further damage."

Bronwen agreed to write up a voiceover for another group member to read. We quickly discovered that most of the young people used the river for swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing or fishing.

Becky Stoddard, a parent and keen paddle boarder, told The Ecologist"The river Wye runs through our village and is a massive part of all of our lives.

"In the summer months the children think of it as a swimming pool at the end of the garden and the whole family (including the dogs) swim, kayak, paddleboard and play in it at any opportunity.

"Our primary concern has always been safety with regards to the current and hidden rocks - the quality of the water has never really been an issue until recently, when it has been very much brought to our attention.

She added: "It would be such a loss if we were unable to swim and play in the river due to negligence and companies not adhering to environmental legislation."

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.

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