This Blog has been written as part of the Every Child Wild series.
What do you think would be the most important, and effective, change that could be made to ensure that future generations grow up to love wildlife?
There is this notion of the trillion dollar industries – which include education, technology etc. I believe that the only way people will truly love wildlife, and plants, is to spend time with them outdoors – to foster a relationship to the non-human world that engenders a deep understanding and feeling of connection. For young ones, playing outdoors, following their curiosity is all that is needed. All schools would benefit from an outdoor-based curriculum. As we grow and become more ‘static’, a combination of skilled facilitators and immersion in nature, can support a love of the natural world.
That’s not all however. I believe it is necessary for humans to move towards a new framework of ‘reality’. Fundamentally we in the modern world relentlessly experience the world through a very human-centric lens, and within that, we project our inner world onto life ‘out there’.
In my view we impose our reality onto existence, believing we have grasped truth – when we have only grasped what we think we know. This means one effective change would be to revisit and challenge our beliefs. To understand despite our successes, how little we really know. We actually grasp a slither of what is ‘real’, within the cosmos.
How does this relate to loving wildlife?
Generally humans impose their so called understanding onto animals and plants, we objectify and label them within this reality and repeatedly put ourselves above other living beings. More currently our newer, western systems dominate other cultures and earth-centric understanding, an understanding which would never question loving wildlife – for a multitude of reasons. Indeed a most profound quality that could change the world would be to become as a race much more humble.
From this position, there is hope. There is the possibility of feeling that connection again. To appropriately use our minds, and act in accordance to what feels ‘right’. What do you feel about the unprecedented destruction of wildlife? Harness your feelings to act – we protect what we love. We can continue to develop our capacity of empathy and extend this beyond our immediate family (which most of us intrinsically love) to the world beyond. The capacity for love, is born out of feeling loved. Love is not limited to wildlife or our children – for in this world there are many families with children too, across our species. Really our challenge is to figure out why we don’t love more, perhaps what trauma or wound we carry that is preventing us from loving one another. It is not an easy task, but it is possible look within and see how the world out there can reflect the world within, and in doing so, providing the capacity for great change.
In our world, we can’t have a future that takes care of just humans. That would be a basic misunderstanding of how life works. It is all our responsibility to do what we can do – and there is an endless amount to do! We can be truly helpful, by being a little more generous – and that generosity will go a long way to helping the future generations.
Marina is the Founder and Managing Director of Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC, a leading
outdoor learning organisation. Marina has been the recipient of funding from Natural England, Mind and The National Lottery, amongst other grant makers for her outdoor work with teenagers, families and young people with mental health issues. Marina provides residential camps in Sussex woodlands, Forest School and nature-based training for adults, outdoor learning days and youth training programmes. A qualified teacher (PGCE), Marina is a leading Forest School trainer and practitioner (UK and International) and shares her knowledge and experience through training teachers and individuals who want to work outside the classroom.