Keep Your Part of the World Worth Seeing

September 17, 2008

Bill Bryson's African DiaryI think Bill Bryson could save the world. I’m not exaggerating. I think with enough money and power and help, his kindness and passion for the wellness of the whole world (the people, the places, the environment) would create compassion and curiosity about other cultures which would translate into a warm, fuzzy feeling for all humanity and therefore an end to war and peace on earth. Easy peasy.

Ok, maybe it wouldn’t be that simple.

Bill isn’t big on power and politics anyway, so don’t look for him to start campaigning for world domination. He is campaigning for cleaner streets and rivers and fields (and probably happier cows as a result). I wrote about this campaign once before. It was so successful (the campaign, not my post about it) that Bill wrote a thank you note to all those who got involved. Here’s what he had to say: 

Dear friends

I’m glad so many of you were able to watch the Panorama programme on litter last month. I was delighted to learn that an average of 4.2 million people watched it, the biggest audience of this series – showing again that people care hugely about litter and fly-tipping, and want to see action.

It’s great, and rather humbling, to see so many of you leaving your messages of support for the Stop the Drop campaign. Making the programme gave me a chance to re-visit parts of the country I haven’t been to for a long while, and reminded me again (as if I could forget it!) what a breathtakingly beautiful country this is, and why we need to clean up the tide of trash that threatens to engulf too much of it. I was truly inspired by many of the people I met – tireless campaigners in the fight against litter.

In fact, if any of you were inspired to take some direct action, http://www.litteraction.org.uk/ has 120 groups across the UK. These litter heroes have been collecting 8,000 bags of rubbish and lobbying their local authorities since April. If you aren’t yet part of the litteraction army, it’s easy to find a local group and join up…or start your own!

You can also write to your MP to ask them to sign the Early Day Motion (EDM) 1634 in support of Stop the Drop – this EDM will remain ‘live’ until the Queen’s Speech in December, and it already has the backing of 124 MPs. Go to http://www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/stop-the-drop/litter-and-fly-tipping/litter-take-action to send an email to your MP.

I am currently touring and speaking at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences, urging all the parties to back Stop the Drop. And after that I am told by the ever patient and charming fellows at CPRE that I am authorized to take Christmas off.

Thank you again for all your wonderful and inspiring support, and apologies to those of you who will have already seen this news in more detail in my Stop The Drop bulletin (sign up at web address I gave earlier)

All best wishes, Bill

PS A belated but heart-felt thanks for your wonderful response to my last-ditch plea for help with the South Downs petition. Because so many of you made the effort we got hundreds more signatures, making it, I’m told, one of the most successful environmental petitions in the UK. Special thanks to the valiant attempts of those of you from outside this small island to join in (Marija, Paula, Matthew and others) – I didn’t realise that the petition was for British citizens and residents only, but am truly heartened by your efforts all the same. In fact, reward yourselves by doing something fun and frivolous!

Anytime, Bill.

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