3o Days Wild

3o Days Wild

30 Days Wild: reconnecting with nature

 During June I took part in 30 Days Wild, the campaign organised by the Wildlife Trusts. Along with the 430,000+ other people who took part in what was the UK’s biggest nature challenge, I was encouraged to do something each day that connected me to nature – a “daily random act of wildness” as the Wildlife Trusts put it! I decided to rekindle my love of wildlife photography by snapping something new and interesting that I saw in the garden and further afield.

 As well as taking the chance to photograph things which I see quite often on our bird feeder – robins, blue tits , blackbirds – I was amazed by what I experienced when I took the time to stop and look properly. I saw many things I had never seen, heard or smelled before (maybe simply because I wasn’t trying hard enough!). From a stunning hummingbird hawkmoth hovering to feed above a valerian flower to an amazing harlequin ladybird larva on a helianthemum plant. The referee’s whistle call of a nuthatch to the high-pitched buzz of a hoverfly. The miniature menace of a jumping Zebra spider on a garden fence to an slinky smooth slow worm basking in the sunshine on a heath trail. Raindrops sparkling like jewels on a rose leaf (cue Julie Andrews!) to the spectacular perfect symmetry of rowan leaves back lit by afternoon sun. The feel of the soft bark around the base of a mighty tall conifer to the smell of newly emerged funghi on an old tree stump. All free, all there for me to enjoy – I only needed to open my eyes, ears and nose to experience these things.

 Research carried out by the Wildlife Trusts and University of Derby highlights the benefits we all get from daily contact with nature – both in terms of our overall health but also our happiness. Being more connected to nature, getting a better understanding of how our natural world impacts and benefits us all, recognising that nature plays an important part in all of our lives and needs to be cherished – these are all things which 30 Days Wild has helped me to focus on in this particularly challenging period of our lives. It has also made me even more aware that, without a real resolve from us all to live in harmony with and protect our natural environment, this amazing variety of sights, sounds, smells may not be available to future generations to experience. Above all, that is what I will take away from my 30 days nature sight-seeing!

 

Jim Haywood

Director Achill Management and Producer Planet Pod

Do we know the price of everything and the value of nothing?

Do we know the price of everything and the value of nothing?

Oscar Wilde’s quip about a cynic makes me wonder if we are all in danger of becoming cynical in our lifestyle choices and their impact on the natural environment – perhaps putting short term economic gain above understanding the longer-term value (aka “ecosystem services”) of our natural habitats and species?  When we buy our latest gadget at the lowest price on Amazon do we factor in the real environmental and social cost associated with the impact of producing, shipping, using and disposing of that gadget?

 I recently drew a simple sketch in response to a daily Facebook “Sketchbook Challenge”[i] prompt (the subject was “Supermarkets”).  My line of tree trunks reminded me of the ubiquitous bar code used by stores to price up goods.  (Maybe “bark code” might be more accurate in the context?).  A fellow sketcher in Australia responded “Your “bark code” is a great thought. The tree image brings to mind our post bushfire scenes in Australia. What price are we paying?…. In their distress, Australians have been hugely moved by the care and concern from other countries. And many of us hope it translates into far deeper global action”.

 As the need for urgent action to tackle major issues such as climate change and resource depletion, we all need to shake of our cynicism and make better buying decisions based on the true cost of what we buy.  Perhaps the time has come for us to “bark code” all our forests, mountains, streams, rivers and oceans?

 

[i] http://www.magenta-sky.com/online-courses/30-day-sketchbook-challenge/

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