Saturday, 20 June 2015

30 Days Wild: Day 20 - Mankind's future depends on this blog

Right, for once I'm going to put my slightly more serious head on.  This story caught my eye in the news this morning - according to scientists earth has entered a new mass extinction phase.  Now I'm not one for hysteria - my background is in geology so I'm well aware that there have been various mass extinctions throughout the history of the earth most famously, of course, the dinosaurs.

There's no reason for mass panic either, these things take many hundreds of years to happen so if you're reading this you're probably quite safe.  There are a couple of things that make this one unique though, firstly, while mass extinctions have happened before, this one has most likely been triggered by the way we're shamelessly abusing the planet and secondly, even if you don't subscribe to the whole "man is destroying the planet/ global warming thing", now we know it's happening we're smart enough to do something about it, if we choose to.

If you've been following this blog you'll know that for the past week I've been in London desperately seeking out greenery, and it's not easy.  Yes there are a few parks in the centre of town, but not a lot else.  Front gardens all over the city have been paved over to provide parking spaces and other gardens are manicured to within an inch of their life - very pretty but not that great for wildlife.

On our final morning we took a stroll along the Regent Canal and found some folks really trying hard to bring greenery and wildlife to the centre of the city.  We saw narrow boats finely festooned with colourful plants, though there was the odd bit of astroturf and a fake owl.

Flowery loveliness

Astroturf - but at least it's green.

Gratuitous photo of a book shop

Encouraging folks outdoors

It works - people enjoying the sunshine & limited greenery

Fake fish? :-)

Wise but probably plastic.

We desperately need to find a way to help people connect with the natural world.  If thousands of kids are growing up in cities devoid of wildlife, why would they learn to care about it?  It's not important to them because it's not something that surrounds them on a daily basis.  

I grew up in an urban area (Walsall) and it's only over the past 10 years or so that I've really begun to understand more about the nature, trees, birds, plants, wildlife, oceans etc.  The #30DaysWild initiative is a fantastic starting point for helping people understand our role in protecting our environments, as are programmes like SpringWatch, but we need to be doing so much more - seriously, the future of civilization really does depend on it.

Even this small oasis is clearly under threat from yet more concrete...