I first saw Steve Andrews, also known as the Bard of Ely (due to his years living and serenading the public with his songs and poetry on the Ely estate in Cardiff) when I attended the Christian environmental association, A Rocha’s, 'Plastic-Free February' Zoom call all those months ago.
“Where does all the plastic go? Into the sea, into the sea. How does it get there, who threw it away? Was it you or was it me?” Steve sang in his music video as he walked around a beautiful Portuguese beach, his funky green beard blowing in the wind as he strummed his guitar.
The song was originally a poem that Steve wrote when, in his words, he first became aware of the extent of the “plastic nightmare scenario”. He says he was waiting for somebody famous to start singing about the problems in the oceans. But as time went by he realised that not too many people do protest songs like they did in the late 60s anymore. So Steve, being a man of many talents, decided to take matters into his own hands and back in 2017 turned his poem into a song.
Now though, he’s back to answer the questions he sang about more deeply, and indeed, dive deeper into the ocean to find out more about these issues and has written a book, that's part of the Earth Spirit series of books dedicated to eco-spirituality, called Saving Mother Earth.
He sent me an early copy of the manuscript, and one of my favourite parts is when he makes the case that we need to tap into the power of mythology and story. He suggests enlisting the help of the Greek god Poseidon (or indeed his Roman counterpart Neptune) and conjures an image of this eco-warrior deity wielding his classic three-pronged trident to spear any floating litter. He thinks that if things are so bad that even this ancient and powerful god has to get involved, it could spur us into action (he’s even open to Aquaman if Poseidon is unavailable).
The book has had some amazing endorsements from people such as the founder of the Sea Shepherd conservation society, Captain Paul Watson, as well as global youth ambassador Lilly Platt, film director Alan Ereira, songwriter Brute Force and author and artist Janina Rossiter.
Steve's book lays out in an easy to understand way, not just the plastic pollution problems, but all the other dangers facing our deep blue planet, including overfishing, acidification, coral bleaching, nuclear waste and climate change.
Steve has thought for a long time that it would be great to hold a huge event (like Live Aid) called Ocean Aid... He says he envisions world famous bands and pop singers all getting involved to try and raise awareness about the plight of the ocean and raise funds for charities.
He admits, “It’s a big dream. However, saving the oceans is a very big task, one of the biggest I can think of! And it has to be done.”
Steve now lives in Sesimbra, and a few of you I’m sure have been thinking “Haven’t I seen that green beard somewhere before?”. And you would be right! In 2017 he featured on Britain's Got Talent, where he not only managed to get the crowd on their feet, but a lot of them even went on stage and stood by him as he sang “Stand by me”.
I should also mention that this isn’t his first book. He's written three books on herbs, as well as his memoir called Nature Boy.
He also loves and knows his butterflies. He rears several species and is in the process of writing a book called The Magic of Butterflies and Moths. I wonder if one fluttered too close to his green beard and inspired his song “Butterfly in my Beard”?
Saving Mother Earth will only become available on 26 November, but if you would like to pre-order his book then you can do so by following this link https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/our-books/earth-spirit-saving-mother-ocean
And to find out more about this green bearded wizard visit his website https://steveandrews.info/