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The Notebook: How to make an effective change this World Earth Day

Where the City’s movers and shakers have their say. Today, on World Earth Day, it’s James Reed, chairman and CEO of Reed and chairman of the board of trustees at Big Give, with the pen

Feel helpless about the climate crisis? Here’s one way to help

Over nearly 20 years, we have built a fantastic fundraising machine called Big Give. It has pioneered the concept of match funding – bringing in fundraising ‘champions’, typically philanthropists, foundations or companies – to double donations made by members of the public. So £20 from an individual to their favourite charity becomes £40 if they donate through the Big Give platform, and so on.


It’s a very simple idea: making people’s generosity go further by doubling the difference. The champions who support Big Give tell us how pleased they are to see their donations multiplied, often by many times.

Big Give has already raised over £284m for thousands of charities, and this week, we are running the UK’s biggest dedicated environmental fundraiser, the Green Match Fund.

In my experience, people are increasingly concerned by the climate and nature crisis but aren’t sure what they can do as individuals to help.

As we mark World Earth Day today, the Green Match Fund is the perfect vehicle to take action and know that you are doing some good. Running until noon on April 25th, 248 impactful environmental charities are participating, including prominent organisations such as Surfers Against Sewage, Friends of the Earth, Rewilding Britain and The Wildlife Trusts.

Every year, the Green Match Fund gets bigger and over this week we are aiming to raise a record £6m.

This campaign is backed by a range of high-profile supporters promoting their individual charities, including Chris Packham (Bat Conservation Trust), Stephen Fry (Rainforest Trust UK), Monty Don (Soil Association), Adjoa Andoh (Tree Aid), Lady Marina and Lady Amelia Windsor (Blue Marine Foundation), David Oakes (David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation), Kate Humble (Bees for Development), Ben Goldsmith (Sicily Environment Foundation, part of the Conservation Collective), Peter Egan (Helping Rhinos) and Cel Spellman (Young People’s Trust For The Environment).

At a time when all charities are facing pressure from funding cuts and the cost of living crisis, there has never been a more critical time to support organisations doing good work to save our planet. If you’d like to donate, log on to and choose a charity to support.

Training the next gen

According to the latest data, apprenticeship job postings have declined by 55 per cent, while applications have risen by 47 per cent. Meanwhile a million young people are not in education or training.

To help build a strong future labour market and examine how we can create new routes for young people to get their first foot on the career ladder, Reed sponsored think tank EDSK to examine what we can do to improve the prospects of the millions of young people who don’t go to university.

The key is to introduce an effective ‘traineeships’ programme for 18- to 24-year-olds, reform apprenticeships and reintroduce the Kickstart scheme that offered employers a financial incentive during the pandemic to give young people at risk of unemployment work placements that will often lead to jobs.

Sowing the seeds

We planted 70,000 trees across land in Wiltshire three winters ago, and I’m happy to report that many of them are now taller than I am.

Spring has arrived and seeing the alders, oaks and silver birch bursting into bright green leaf is good for the soul. Planting trees takes carbon out of the atmosphere and improves biodiversity.

They say the best time to plant a tree is 99 years ago, but the second best time is now, and as I contemplate ours growing with energy and enthusiasm I only want to plant more.

Truss issues

I had almost forgotten the Liz Truss horror show but in recent weeks the former Prime Minister has been all over the airwaves promoting her new book. Apparently she received a very modest advance for this tome, but it seems to be attracting massive media notice. I find this perplexing, given that many of the ideas she is advocating – including the abolition of the United Nations, Office of Budget Responsibility and Natural England – seem untimely at best and positively dangerous at worst. This is a shame, since some of her proposals about growing the economy were not without merit. As it is, every time she opens her mouth, the Tories must shed thousands more votes.

A recommendation 

The hit of the spring for me is Shōgun on Disney Plus. I am totally hooked and eagerly awaiting each new episode every Tuesday. An adaptation of James Clavell’s novel, it is set in Japan in the year 1600 at the dawn of civil war. It is told from the perspective of English sailor John Blackthorne, played by Cosmo Jarvis, who rises from outsider to samurai. It is beautifully filmed and written and each scene is almost like a painting. It makes me want to visit Japan soon.