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Rain doesn't stop celebrations

The rain didn't stop Andrew Miller MP Ellesmere Port and Neston joining emeritus Professor John Guillebaud and others to mark the 20th Anniversary of the burial of the time capsule at Ness Botanic Gardens on 7 June 2014.

Saturday 7 June 2014 is the celebration of World Environment Day at Ness and marks the 20th anniversary of the burial of 'Apology to the Future' time capsule, one of six buried in the UK and abroad1. The  anniversary will be marked by a ceremony with an introduction from Kevin Reid, Director of Ness Botanic Gardens, and readings from The Promise (the booklet of poems and pictures written to people of the future by children in 1994).2

Explaining the inspiration for the eco-time capsule project, Professor Guillebaud said "The concept came through that well-known saying...we have not inherited the earth from our grandparents, we have borrowed it from our grandchildren. I reflected on how angry they are likely to be if we continue (and there has been no obvious let-up 20 years later) to wreck their loan to us. With 25 years as the accepted average duration of a generation, "our grandchildren" meant people living 50 years ahead. So this project was addressed to the people of 2044. We felt it was essential to apologise. But more important was the pledge: to do all we could to save the planet by individual and united action with the goal that the finders of each time capsule in the year 2044 will wonder why we apologised!"

The Gardens will celebrate World Environment Day by offering free guided tours of their bee hives, weather station and two hectares of wildflower meadows in addition to wildlife crafts for children.   The day is an annual global event run by the United Nations since 1972 to encourage everybody to think and take positive action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It has been celebrated at Ness since the burial of the time capsule in 1994.


Editors' notes:

1 In addition to the one in Ness Botanic Garden, capsules were buried in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Mount Annan Botanic Garden, NSW, Australia; Fundidora Park, Nuevo Leon State, Mexico; Botanical Gardens, Seychelles; KwaZulu-Natal Botanic Gardens, South Africa. 

2 The time capsule contains environmentally-relevant items including: samples to reflect water, earth, fire and air, the four elements of the ancients (a flask of fresh air from woods in Oxfordshire, garden loam, two vials of water, one from the tap, one from the sea, as a reference for comparison in 2044, together with one of petrol to represent fire); a selection of letters and poems from British school children (many of which are reproduced inThe Promise, a booklet produced to commemorate the 10th anniversary); an apple, chosen by 14 year-old Peter Harrison to represent the earth and a Letter of Apology written to the 2044 finder of the capsule.