[Source: Green Light Trust]

Today Green Light Trust is enabling 1,000s of children and young people attending The School Farm & County Fair and The Suffolk Show, Trinity Park Ipswich, the opportunity to express their wishes for the future of our planet though the construction of a Wishing Tree. It is hoped that this installation will be the world’s biggest “Wishing Tree Sculpture” as measured by the number of young people who have been involved in its construction.

Boughs from a tree which succumbed to the full force of storm Eunice have been chosen as the focal point for the sculpture. For the last few months, Green Light Trust participants and colleagues have been making 1,000s of wooden ‘biscuits’ on which Suffolk young people can write their wish before hanging it on the “Wishing Tree Sculpture.”

Children & young people from Suffolk who are not able to attend the Suffolk show, or the Farm Show in person, can post on the Green Light Trust Instagram page and a biscuit with their wish will be hung on the tree on their behalf using the hashtag #treewishes4theplanet.

Once finished, the installation will go on permanent display at the Green Light Trust (GLT) site at Trinity Park as a lasting reminder of the importance of the environment and the wishes and desires of our children and young people to preserve our planet for future generations.

Predictions made earlier this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mean that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 if the world is to have a chance of limiting future heating to 1.5 ºC above preindustrial levels. We are fast running out of time to change the trajectory of climate change which is critical to the future of our young people.

Survey after survey has suggested that our children and young people not only care passionately about the environment but that it weighs heavily on their mental health and wellbeing. It is estimated that 45% of our children and young people feel that worries about climate change impact their daily lives, and 2/3 feel anxious, sad or afraid about the planet and the consequences of climate change for their futures.  As the very future of our planet lies in the balance, our young people need an outlet to express their wishes and fears for the survival of our natural world.

Danny Thorrington, GLT Delivery Manager, Children and Young People, said:

“We support children and young people, as well as adults, in Suffolk every year who are experiencing poor wellbeing and individual barriers to progression. Through running our woodland-based courses we have enabled these young people to connect with nature for their own wellbeing and personal development as well as help them to develop a passion for conserving and preserving the natural world.”

“As a charity which has been conserving our natural woodlands for over 30 years, we wanted to enable Suffolk young people to express in their own words their wishes for the future of the environment. We are hoping that this tree will provide a lasting legacy of the hopes and wishes of Suffolk’s next generation and serve as a reminder that unless we all make some change to our lives to reduce, reuse and recycle, our planet is at risk.”

Clare Countess of Euston, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk said:

“What a wonderful project that highlights just how passionately young people feel about the future of our fragile environment. Congratulations to the Green Light Trust and everyone involved, and I can’t wait to see and be inspired by the world’s largest Wishing Tree Sculpture.  At the heart of the celebrations this year for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, hundreds of thousands of trees and hedges are being planted across Suffolk in support of The Queen’s Green Canopy. The power of nature is ever present, and together with the Wishing Tree Sculpture, young people are sending a message of hope for the survival of our natural world, and I cannot thank them enough.

“We are delighted that Green Light Trust has decided to use the School Farm & County Fair to launch  what is hoped will be the world’s  largest Wishing Tree Sculpture,” said Philip Ainsworth, Chief Executive, Suffolk Agricultural Association,  “Our association, has long had a manifesto to engage our children and young people in the future and importance of agriculture to our county as well as evangelising how caring for the environment is vital, not only to a thriving countryside, but to the future of our planet.”

Wishing Trees have been part of the landscape across all cultures and throughout history from ancient worlds to Yoko Ono.  To our forefathers, trees were a source of food, fuel and shelter. Aside from the odd pyramid or church, trees were also taller than nearly every man-made structure until the mid-19th century. As living organisms on a much longer timescale than ourselves, they are obvious focal points for hope for the future. Trees have long had to adapt to changes in the world in order to survive – while at the same time enabling everything near them to grow and flourish. What could be more fitting than a Wishing Tree Sculpture which delivers a legacy of the hope of our young people for a greener world?