I had to do this for school, and it got into the school speech competition, which has three people from every year and there’s judges and stuff and I’m kinda terrified… I really wish I’d just said I wouldn’t do it, but it’s tomorrow, so I’m too late… Sorry that this is kinda weird and unedited, but I’ve not got much more to post so yah…
Good afternoon teachers and fellow students. I’m Amy, and I am here today to speak to you about my love of nature, and why I think everybody should love it too.
I would say that I’m pretty well tuned in to nature. I sit in class dreaming about trees. But I’ve been connecting to nature a long time, you see, but connecting with nature isn’t something that you learn, it happens through experience. But sadly, many people never get the chance to try. The way in which I began to discover nature, myself, was through learning about survival, wild food, tracking, and bushcraft, which led me into the woods. Once you begin to learn about the wild, you really can’t stop. For a year, I went out walking in the mountains every morning, rain or shine. I got to know the surrounding hills and forest like they were my back garden.
Nature is where we come from. It is a part of each and every one of us, but it has been torn from our lives. Not many people connect with nature much any more. Sometimes, it feels to me as if soon, everybody in this generation will be ingroant of the world beyond, and if they don’t share any knowledge of nature with their children, thos kids won’t even know nature exists, beyond this scary, wild place outside. Re-connecting this generation to nature may be one of the most important things humans will ever have to do.
In Ireland, sadly, there aren’t many opportunities to learn about nature connection as there are in other places, so I haven’t met any people my age over here who really love nature.
Every year in Scotland there’s a gathering from all over the UK and Ireland of people who love nature in the same way as I do. When I was there, I met eleven other teenagers who were so rooted in the natural world, I was pretty much instantly best friends with all of them. We went off into a journey into the cold, wet, muddy wilderness of Scotland, we hiked through a lot of rain, storms, mud, broken tents, lost shoes, getting lost and not being too happy in general, and still it was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I got to know them so well over that week that at the end we could hardly part, because when you connect with like-minded people, when you go through tough journeys and meet your edges together, it’s the most uniting thing you can do with a group of people. We were guided by four adults who were always with us and sometimes by a man who had pretty much inspired my love of nature a few years before with his incredible skills.
There is so much research supporting the fact that children thrive when they are outdoors. If every child had that chance to explore and learn, to play and connect with others and the wilderness, many childhood troubles might be lessened. All our natural insticts to explore, discover and learn would grow and develop. So why don’t schools support this more?
If schools set aside more time for spending in the wild, so much would change. In this day and age, it is vital that children get to experience this, as otherwise they might never be able to learn whether or not they love nature. Everyone should at least have the chance to see how amazing it is out there, how incredible it feels to build a waterproof shelter from the forest floor, to forage for wild food and make a meal from it, to create a fire from nothing but what’s around you in a forest.
If children and teenagers learned to learn by asking questions and investigating them themselves, as I did, rather than sitting in a room, never asking, never questioning, just being talked at, our childhoods would be a lot more enriched and happy.
Our future depends on this earth. We cannot simply live off this planet any more. We must live with the earth, if we are to survive as a race. Humans have treated the world with such disrespect over the last few hundred years, and if we want our children and grandchildren to survive, the first step we must take is to reconnect with our roots in nature.
We have to go backwards to go forwards, and what better way to learn how important the earth is than by connecting with nature?
Thank you very much for listening, and I hope I have inspired you to think a little differently about the natural world.