WWF UK Blog  

So, what is this thing called ‘the environment’?


I have young children and have learnt that something as simple as a walk takes on a new meaning. Walks now take twice as long and yet we only cover half the distance.

Jumping spider on a blade of grassThis tiny Jumping spider (Salticus sp.) perched on a blade of long grass with a tasty leafhopper snack. © Anthony Field

The reason being my children are constantly alert to their surroundings, fascinated by the wildlife, noises and textures. I have learnt to rediscover my love of nature through these walks. The wonder and excitement on their face as they hold a small frog, no bigger than my thumbnail, is infectious.

This cuts across our Earth Book campaign. In creating the campaign we talked to friends, colleagues and psychologists. We heard about surfers who were embarrassed to admit that they felt spiritual when out surfing and people in cities who were convinced that they had no contact with nature.

One phrase that struck us was that everyone has moments of contact with nature – but they just don’t mark those moments.

…and Earth Book was born – a place for people to mark their moments with nature. And boy, have they done just that. People have shared childhood stories, stories of wildlife in their gardens, their holidays and their memories. One thing has remained constant – the emotion.

A Red soldier beetle, perched on top of a stemBright and colourful, Red solider beetles are often found near the top of plants hunting for their prey. © Anthony Field

Nature is part of us, we developed as a species in nature and we have a strong attachment to it deep within us. It is not chance that car companies, with their big research budgets, run adverts of cars on a beach with people having a good time. They understand the link.

For children this is a natural thing to do as they explore their world. To children trees aren’t trees they are castles in the sky – giving their world a third dimension as they climb them.

Earth Book has broadened my understanding of the way I look at the world. There seems to be an increasingly dominant force that looks at nature as providing us with services and providing us with goods. I believe that this helps supress its fundamental value.

Nature is a part of us all. Why else would we want house plants or moan about the bad weather this summer that stoped us for going for a picnic? Having contact with nature helps us to be ourselves, it feeds our soul.

I used to go on walks to stretch my legs and think things over in my mind. Now every walk is an expedition of discovery to find out what we can uncover and by doing so to recharge my soul. I don’t look at it and question how much it is worth.

Next time you are going for a walk why not see what you can discover and let us know on Earth Book.

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