project wild thing
Chris Packham is rubbing his eyes from late night World Cup viewing when I meet him, but his enthusiasm is infectious. Once
Enter Project Wild Thing, which was launched last September. How successful is nature as a brand? 'Nobody really knows', David says. For someone who is taking on the immense task of marketing nature to children, he is a remarkably humble man. 'I'm not saying it's changing their lives,' he tells me, 'but it's making them question.'
The green belt is under attack by greedy property developers and grasping politicians. This land is protected from development to restrict urban sprawl and preserve green space for people (and for nature).
It's always nice to get a good review. Here at my production company Green Lions, we have just spent three years of our lives on a film, PROJECT WILD THING and it is gratifying to find out that people enjoyed it.
This week is the 40th anniversary of National Tree Week. Coordinated by the Tree Council, it marks the start of the winter tree planting season. There are events all over the country, bringing together community groups, schools, and conservation charities...
When should children be allowed onto Facebook? The site says it only accepts users over the age of 13. New research published this week by Internet security giant McAfee and the Anti-Bullying Alliance says that most children use the Internet away from their parents' watchful eyes (which I can quite understand).
Making PROJECT WILD THING I became interested in the public health benefits of prescribing 'wild time' to young children. If they catch the nature bug early, young children are far more likely to grow up to love the outdoors.
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.
Without really noticing we've been heading towards the end of the traditional outdoors childhood. Something that many millions of adults took for granted is becoming the exception rather than the norm for today's children, where-ever they live. Roaming ranges are down, physical activity is down and the ability of children to identify common wildlife is being lost.
"Like David Attenborough and Morgan Spurlock got drunk and had a baby..." is one description of David Bond's empassioned
All the science shows that getting outdoors is hugely beneficial to children and young people. It improves their health, reduces stress and boosts wellbeing. Just the view of greenery from an exam hall window helps students achieve better grades.
The film makes these teens feel trapped: afraid of not spending enough time outdoors on the one hand, and, on the other, anxious about missing out on socialising through technology. They had asked me for help - and I wasn't sure what to say. I'm not a trained counsellor.
A generation that grows up completely disconnected from and bored by nature will find themselves reconnected the hard way, by rising sea levels, heatwaves and droughts. Please take children outside.
My children are back at school today. It makes me feel guilty. After a summer of walking and frolicking, suddenly I have to decant them into the car and ferry them around. I know I shouldn't. But it is just too far for them to walk (especially for the 4-year-old).
These three million children are not just growing up in material poverty, but in environmental poverty. They can not afford nature... Children growing up in deprived areas are more likely to be underweight at birth, and obese in their teens. They are at much greater risk from accidental injury in the home and tend to perform worse at school.
In a new report the British Heart Foundation revealed that 80% of children are not eating the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day. Half eat chocolates, sweets and fizzy drinks each day. Combine that with the fact that the majority of children do not get the recommended hour of exercise per day, and you've got a perfect recipe for childhood obesity, chronic heart disease and early death.
Playing outdoors is good for children. It makes for happy, healthy kids. Yet still we persist in letting them stay indoors. We're scared to let them play anywhere other than their bedroom or the garden, where we can keep a keen watch over them. My mother roamed in about 50 square miles. I roamed in one square mile. My two children are free to roam just in 18 square yards.