During the Sustainable Living Festival we called in to see a film called Project Wild Thing. The documentary follows a Dad, David Bond, frustrated his two small children only seemed to like television, as he tries to promote Nature as a viable alternative.
He begins a marketing campaign promoting Nature to children. He interviews experts, including his own mother, about the fact we’ve lost the ability to ramble through wilderness because there’s less places for kids to play, kids are overprotected and there’s computers to keep them absorbed. There are scientists who rate children’s health concerns and advertising gurus wonder what the benefits of nature might be.
Apparently the project began because of a growing interest in what’s been termed the nature deficit disorder. Richard Louv coined that term and was also here for the festival but one can’t be everywhere. Here’s a link to a video about his book, Last Child in the Woods, instead and here’s a picture of his latest book. I think I shall read this one!
Research and analysis around the world has proved that people, more importantly, children, are spending much more time inside and hardly any time outside. When David Bond interviewed teenagers they said that wildness was boring. One girl said she never goes to the park near her because lots of people walk their dogs there and dogs can maul you to death. Mind you, when he took a few of them on a walk in the local park they became animated, interested and quickly made a daisy chain.
In a delightful animation, made by the same film makers, a young voice explains we were better off before there were things with buttons to push (at 1:15) ‘They didn’t have the virtual quests, they had, like, the world was their quest.’
The Project Wild campaign really ramps up when the filmmakers hook up with Good For Nothing, a group of advertisers and marketers who donate their time and expertise to workshop ideas. As a result there’s an amazing spread of activity from billboards to flyers and an app giving kids ideas about what to do in Nature. It’s all super!
When I was searching Project Wild Thing for this blog I found an American group called Project Wild. Apparently there’s been many groups formed as a result of Richard Louv’s work. There’s even been attempts at legislation with the No Child Left Inside movement.
What will happen to future generations if kids don’t get outside?