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Back to nature

We find out about the kind-hearted kids taking part in the world’s largest youth-led nature restoration scheme, the Penpont Project

We all know our environment and the natural world is in danger. In the UK, 56 per cent of species have shown a decline in numbers between 1970 and 2013. And the UN’s recent landmark report found that 1 million animal and plant species face extinction globally, threatening food security, livelihoods, economies and health. So in a bid to reverse devastating ecological breakdown, environmental charity, Action for Conservation, have unveiled a youth-led nature restoration project. And, not wanting to do things by half measures, it’s the biggest of its kind in the world. Taking place on a 2,000-acre upland estate in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, the pioneering Penpont Project will be run by a youth leadership group of 20 12-17-year-olds from diverse backgrounds. Under their management, the project will restore habitats and ecosystems, and explore innovative farming and forestry approaches to provide a healthy support system for people, biodiversity and agriculture. Hendrikus van Hensbergen, chief executive at Action for Conservation, tells us more.

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About Be Kind

Hello, Most women can remember their first period. Maybe you were lucky enough to have someone comfort and reassure you during yours, or maybe you worked things out for yourself. Either way, for a lot of women, from that first period onwards, it’s a monthly event that is shrouded in shame. A hush-hush secret between friends, a missed PE lesson, a surreptitious tampon passed underhand from a colleague, a sanitary pad shoved up a sleeve, a handbag conspicuously carried to the bathroom – for something perfectly natural, experienced by 50 per cent of the population, why the stigma? We spoke to the brilliant illustrator Hazel Mead (p20) about period shame and how, with her clever drawings, she is breaking taboos and opening up the conversation. Her pieces challenge misconceptions around real topics – like feminism, sex and periods – and she is a passionate campaigner against period poverty. Like Hazel, it’s about bloody time we put an end to the humiliation and mystique around our periods, and liberated ourselves by talking about them honestly and openly. Aside from the emotional impact of periods, they create some shocking environmental damage, too. While we’re all trying our best to use our keep cups and Tupperware, we need to consider the footprint of our sanitary products. Each pad used is the equivalent of four plastic carrier bags – a female uses on average 11,000 throwaway period products in a lifetime, so, if these are all pads, that’s equal to 44,000 carrier bags. Fortunately, there are some great alternatives which are better for the planet and your pocket, too – find out more on p80. Enjoy the issue, Phillipa Editor