My travels throughout Europe have been made with the intention to experience and learn about other cultures and languages, to meet other conservationists and volunteer in support of projects for my own learning.
I have never left the continent for America, Africa or Asia, and I’m perfectly content with that, mainly because I’m worried about the impact of flying – I’d love to visit all those place in a sustainable way. Growing up in London I have had friends in my life with roots from all over the world and I am committed to supporting a multi-racial and multi-cultural Britain and Europe. Immigration from Ireland is the reason I live in Britain today.
European culture and nature is one of my great passions. We each live with the fallout of European history every day, not least non-European nations due to the impacts of slavery and colonialism, and I love to learn about how and why that is, and the new histories being made. In Britain we must address the darkness of our past and challenge how that darkness lingers today.
Like many of my fellow Brits, I was devastated by the referendum result in 2016. I respect other people’s views (within reason) but I will never stop believing it has been a colossal mistake for Britain. The evidence is there for everyone to see – we are worse off, in so many ways.
Like most people my ancestry is a mixture of many different nationalities and cultures. I have strong Irish heritage and, for me, being British also includes that Irishness. Britain leaving the EU has challenged the identity of many people in the UK, not least the UK itself. It has also led to a rise in racist, xenophobic ideologies which we must take apart with patience, education and a focus on equality and inclusion.
In my political views I reject nationalism. As a white male I have been privileged in many ways in my life. Being able to travel freely throughout Europe has added knowledge, experience and friendships which are very important. Likewise, the freedom of movement for people around Europe has enriched our societies in ways we have failed to understand and celebrate. That said, the good will go on.
As human beings we have more in common than that which divides us, as the deceased MP Jo Cox once said. As a British person I am committed to supporting fellow conservationists, artists and campaigners in Europe, whatever colour my passport becomes and am grateful for all my European friends and family have given to me.