THE URBAN WILD
“We are replacing the wild with the tame” he warns with his distinguishingly soft and raspy voice. Imprinted on my sofa I watch nature scientists superstar Sir. David Attenborough narrate crystal clear pictures with a dystopic message that the natural wonders are vanishing due to our human impact. From school children on Stockholm pavements, chimpanzee conservationists in Tanzania, even from Scott Kelly looking down on us from space, the message is all around us, and it’s clear: we need to save the world NOW!
Yet the news of burned koalas, the very last white rhino and plastic whales reach us from a far-removed place, most likely through our screens situated in nature-sterilized surroundings.
What does it say about us urban homo sapiens, that we choose to build our habitats with no, or little connection to nature? And can we really sympathize with the destruction we are causing from such a detached place?
In London, where I live, I wake up in the bed that fills half of my over-prized studio, sloth my way down the grey pavement of baker street and cross paths with other humans mirroring my London swag; a flat white in one hand, their device in the other. I’ll make my way down the tube, wait a couple of torturous 4G lacking minutes before being transported three stops to King’s Cross where I sit at my desk until I reverse the same routine around 7 pm. I can make myself go back and forth every day like this for weeks, without crossing paths with any other species than my own. If I’m lucky, I can even avoid seeing a tree.
Perhaps I notice the lack of nature because I grew up surrounded by nature. As a child, I was sent out in the forest by our teacher every Monday in a way that can only be described as a nordic version of the Survivor. Although admittedly, it often was more yucky than pleasant to be in the wet rotten Norwegian forest, it taught me to be in relation with nature. But, sadly, this is not the case for our future Brits - a study from 2016 showed that over 10% of English children had not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for that entire year(1). Optimistically I went looking for more recent studies, thinking that this year of coronavirus would have helped children spend more time outdoors, only to find out that children are in fact so afraid of spreading the virus, half of the interviewed cases of the study done by Nature England, says it stopped them from spending time outside (2).
work in process:
follow this link to view the messy draft