This is a trip through various wild places with him, mostly on his doorstep in Suffolk, but also in Zambia, as he talks about our connection with the natural world and why we need it. How we need to preserve it. I was drawn to it through that mutual interest and the fact the marshes he walks through are so like the ones I also frequent when I’m getting my regular dose of the wild.
I couldn’t thrive without this connection. I think many people can’t, but maybe they haven’t recognised that fact. We need to keep in touch with wildness to understand that it runs through our own genes however sophisticated and concreted we try and make our lives.
Our health needs it, our psyche needs it. But most don’t get enough of it – some don’t get any contact with wild places and the natural world. Sadly, many kids don’t – some are almost afraid of it.
If our children have no contact then they’ll have little regard, because contact breeds knowledge and understanding. We are spawned from the wild and basically need to preserve it in order to preserve ourselves. Experience is the starting point for understanding.
Simon lists a number of ways to reconnect with the wild. All of which are doable with family. Here are some of them:
- Walk. Get out from under rooves and walk under the sky. Even in a city this has benefits as there is always something natural to observe.
- Sit. Anywhere you can breathe in air and even better if it’s a natural open space. Observe.
- Drink; although I interpret this as picnic with family and kids. Do it outside.
- Learn. Name what you see, Keep adding to the list of things you can name. With technology you can identify something in an instant, flower, bird, tree, insect, whatever…
- Read. And research. Especially about the environment, the planet, the species. Explore nature websites and charities.
- Visit. Find wild places to visit. These don’t always have to be organised nature reserves. A river walk, wood or wasteland that’s less well known may be nearby without you ever having realised.
- Join. Volunteer. Get involved. There may be branches of wildlife groups near you to be involved with and check out the less well known ones like Buglife or Plantlife as well as the larger ones like The National Trust or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Now the summer’s here see how wild you can be. There’s nothing quite like gathering a clan together and getting out there. You’ll make a difference to your life and you’ll make a difference to the environment by extending your contact and thus your understanding, and that of the next generation who’ll one day be it’s guardians.