THE BLOG
11/11/2013 06:55 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

British Children Are Not Alone

The UK scores very badly in terms of our children's connection to Nature - right near the bottom of the league table. So it is tempting to think that in the rest of the world children are much better connected. But the table is relative - and the problem is global.

The UK scores very badly in terms of our children's connection to Nature - right near the bottom of the league table. So it is tempting to think that in the rest of the world children are much better connected. But the table is relative - and the problem is global.

Making PROJECT WILD THING, I travelled to remote northern Ethiopia. Even in this relatively remote corner of the world, the village children I spoke to could recognise almost as many of the 50 international brand names and logos as I tested on their British counterparts. They even recognized brands that have no presence in their country - let alone in their village. The lure and presence of brands is ubiquitous. At the same time, they struggled to identify local species, including some that are endangered.

Last week Ian Dunn, CEO of the Galapagos Conservation Trust wrote to me. "Project Wild Thing is relevant not just in the UK but worldwide. In Galapagos the very real need to preserve this iconic World Heritage Site means that access to the National Park is strictly controlled, impacting the ability of local children to freely explore the natural world around them."

In other words, the iconic national park and marine reserve that houses inspirational creatures such as the marine iguana and the Galapagos Tortoise is closed to local children.

Local people are best placed to conserve environments. People fight to protect the natural world if they feel a connection to species and places. To conserve the Galapagos, local children must feel part of the ecosystem - not an eyesore to be hidden away while VIP tourists take photos.

There seems to be an international appetite for something - anything - to get children back to nature. In America, Richard Louv's Children & Nature Network has an enormous reach and influence. Melbourne-based Kids in Nature gets children out and bushwalking. China, where many children in cities are starved of nature and myopia rates are exceptionally high, has the wonderful Friends of Nature charity in Shanghai.

There has been international interest in our film, too. We have had enquiries from all over: Canada, the US, Hungary, Australia, South Korea, Costa Rica and more. TV broadcasts are scheduled in Russia and South Korea. I'm looking forward to hearing my children dubbed in Russian...

Wherever you live, you can be a Marketing Director for Nature.

www.projectwildthing.com