Introducing Our Nature Heroes: Tommy van de Beek
We’re back, Secret Protectors!
Welcome to the next installment of our Meet Our Nature Heroes Series! As you know, if you have been following along or supporting us over on Kickstarter, our Nature Heroes are both super cool characters in our letters and real-life Nature Protectors.
This time we sat down for a chat with Tommy van de Beek. Tommy is a social entrepreneur (we like the term Ecopreneur!) He is the founder of the Tipping Point Foundation & also of The Pollinators, a movement that is bringing together local initiatives in the fields of biodiversity, pollination, and ecosystem restoration to ensure the survival of all pollinating insects. And in particular Bees. It is in this capacity that he meets River and Tom in Letter 6, where he introduces them to the importance of Bees and also shows them how to make seed bombs!
Tommy is fascinating and inspires us on so many fronts, he is a great example of how we can Bee (get it?!) the change we want to see :) Here is what Tommy had to say to our founder Masha:
Masha: Hey Tommy, why don’t you introduce yourself to our Nature Protectors
Tommy: My name is Tommy van de Beek, and I am very passionate about nature.
My job is to bring attention to the little creatures that are so important for life to thrive: bees and butterflies and other small insects.
Masha: Ok, we ask everyone this question, how does nature remember you? This question is really about turning your perspective around and looking at the nature you have come into contact with in your life. Were you curious about nature as a child? Or disinterested as a teenager? Whatever answer comes up for you :)
Tommy: Nature remembers me as a very active boy, who would love to climb trees, and dig underground hiding places in the forest, or who would race his little green bike through the curly trails in the park as fast as he could. Nature remembers me as a bit of a troublemaker too, always at odds with gravity, and very often coming home crying because of another bruise, scrape or bleeding wound.
But the crying would stop and the wounds would heal and then the adventure continued.
Masha: I love that! So you have told us how nature will remember you, how do you remember nature?
I remember nature as the steady scenery, the live stage where all the adventures and play took place.
I also remember the sheer excitement of discovering the first flowers after winter, the snowdrops. I remember the smell of fresh earth, when I was doing chores in the garden to make a little money. I especially remember this one time I found a really big worm and I thought it was a snake; a combination of fear and excitement.
Masha: How do you manage to personally connect with nature on a daily basis?
Tommy: We recently moved out of the city and into the wild. So we now live in a little cottage in the middle of the forest, and it is an overwhelming luxury to walk out the doorstep and listen to the sounds of the many birds, smell the blooming flowers, and watch the deer walk by. It is a real blessing to see the seasons change and to be fully part of that.
Masha: As a parent, do you experience challenges in passing on nature to your child?
Tommy: In my experience it is about the experience itself.
Talking about the beauty and importance of nature is one thing, but having children experience it,
In this digital age, there are a lot of distractions that prevent being immersed in nature.
Masha: Do you have any tips for other parents who want to create a closer connection to nature for their children?
Tommy: Make it fun and playful! I recommend the Secret Protectors Club as a good starting point :-).
Masha: How would you envisage a world where all kids are Secret Protectors?
Tommy: That is an interesting question. First of all, the educational system would be different. Most important would be the learning of skills that are needed to heal our relationship with the planet and with each other. Part of it is to sense that we are part of nature, and not separated. Also, this different skills set would then lead to different interests and different jobs.
There’s huge potential for healing the planet, and kids can and will have an enormous positive impact, starting today.
Masha: And finally, why is Secret Protectors Club important to you?
Tommy: I’ve seen in the past how trades are dying – because people didn’t want to share their knowledge, because they were too afraid to lose their job or get replaced by younger generations. It is extremely important for me to share my knowledge with other people – and by sharing, other people are open to share something back with you. We have lost the sense of collaboration in this society, and everything is too focused on just taking care of yourself.
We will only ‘save’ this planet if we’ll step together and this includes our children!
🌱 We need your help to make sure that Tommy and his mission reach as many children as possible via our Secret Protectors Club Box. You can support us via our Kickstarter campaign!