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e-Dialogues • View topic - Welcome Everyone

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Welcome Everyone

Join long time environmental advocates, researchers and a horticulturist as they share their experiences and thoughts on what we need to do to protect life as we now know it on the planet. This will be a wide-ranging discussion on the critical determinants for nature and health. Bob Peart, a long-time environmental activist is Chair of the Board of Nature Canada. Leslie King is a renowned researcher at Royal Roads University, nationally and internationally known as an educator deeply committed to biodiversity and Indigenous communities. Paul Allison is said to have the hands of a gardener, the mind of a scientist and the vision of an artist, all firmly rooted in the heart of a naturalist. Ann Dale, a professor at Royal Roads University, is deeply committed to sustainable community development and making the world a better place in her lifetime.
Re: Welcome Everyone
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Paul Allison
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Reluctant to leave, I ask all of you -- what are your favourite books? I was dying to know!
leslie king
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Paul Allison
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
You also asked (when you were setting up the dialogue: What are your favourite books? and I prepared an answer -- You know that is impossible for me to answer as I read hundreds of books a year and many of them are “my favourites”. I often reread classics of English, Russian and French literature. However, I just returned from giving the Stefansson Memorial Lecture at the University of Washington. The title of my talk was “Learning from Northern People: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Climate Change” so I have been rereading all the books on TEK – the new edition of Sacred Ecology by my friend Fikret Berkes, Charles Menzies’ People of the Saltwater and TEK and Natural Resource Management as well as other inspirational books by authors such as Julie Cruikshank and many others. But after I returned home I did not want to stop hearing the gentle First Nations voices so I just finished Richard Wagamese’s (author of Indian Horse) wonderful book, One Native Life a harrowing but beautiful set of anecdotes about his life as an abused foster child to his fame as a celebrated writer and the natural world played a huge part in his reclaiming his identity and heritage -- it reminded me of another favourite book, a novel, Tracks, by Louise Erdrich. Both are Ojibway) I give you a quote from each to inspire you to read them! And I have just started the new book by Haisla author, Eden Robinson from Kitimat, Son of a Trickster. Stay tuned!

Wagamese on Canada: “To Love this country: Sometimes you Breathe this country in, and the air of it is wild, free and open, like a ragged song. There is a song that is Canada. You can hear it in the bush and tree and rock, the crash of a Pacific surf and the blowing of the breeze across a prairie sky. There are ancient notes in its chorus, voices sprung from Metis roots, Ojibway, Cree, Micmac (and I would add Inuit and many others) and then French, German, Scottish and English. It is a magnificent cacophony. I have learned that to love this country means to love its people . All of them. When we say “all my relations”, it’s meant in a teaching way, to rekindle community. (including non-human voices). We are part of a great, grand circle of humanity and we need each other. It would not be Canada with one voice less.”

And the opening of Tracks: “My girl, I saw the passing of times you will never know. I guided the last buffalo hunt. I saw the last bear shot. I trapped the last beaver with a pelt of more than two years growth. I spoke aloud the words of the government treaty and refused to sign the settlement papers that would take away our woods and lake. I axed the last birch that was older than I…”
leslie king
 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
It was a great conversation, Thanks all. And earlier you asked about the role of reconciliation and this is my answer: In Canada, Reconciliation is one of our few hopes. I quote from Chief Gordon Planes of T’souk-e Nation “First Nations are leading the way back to sustainability…” if we but listen. And IPCC’s SR 15 which you reference at the beginning of this edialogue, writes “Local and Indigenous knowledge is important for limiting global warming:
SR15 recognizes that education, information, community capacity-building, local knowledge, and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) can accelerate behavioural changes. Policy acceptability of local and Indigenous knowledge systems is urgently needed for enabling the implementation of policies and measures that would lead to a 1.5ºC pathway."
leslie king
 
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Re: Thanks for the e-converation
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
It was a great conversation, Thanks all. And earlier you asked about the role of reconciliation and this is my answer: In Canada, Reconciliation is one of our few hopes. I quote from Chief Gordon Planes of T’souk-e Nation “First Nations are leading the way back to sustainability…” if we but listen. And IPCC’s SR 15 which you reference at the beginning of this edialogue, writes “Local and Indigenous knowledge is important for limiting global warming:
SR15 recognizes that education, information, community capacity-building, local knowledge, and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) can accelerate behavioural changes. Policy acceptability of local and Indigenous knowledge systems is urgently needed for enabling the implementation of policies and measures that would lead to a 1.5ºC pathway."
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
It is becoming increasing evident that:
• as we have become an urban species our indifference to and the lack of emotional connection with nature is an increasing problem of modern society.
• How can we expect to stand up for the importance of conserving clean air and water – which are fundamental to our health - if we have no connection to the out of doors.
• And how can we expect the air, water, soil, salmon and big old trees to be protected if our elected representatives, have no connection to the out of doors nor an understanding of how nature works.
• Our health as a species is inextricably linked to the health of nature’s ecosystems --- the air we breathe, the soil that grows our food, the water we drink….
o It sounds like a Yogi Berra expression….but we need to remember that ‘Nature Bats Last’.
• It seems ironic…..but here we are at a time when we are faced with perhaps the most numerous environmental challenges that society has ever faced, such as climate change, that the children and families of today’s society are increasingly fearful and removed from the experience of being in nature and its importance to our future.

And remember it isn't just what kind of planet we are leaving for our children; but perhaps more importantly what kind of children are we leaving for the planet.
bob peart
 
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Thanks for the e-converation
This was an experiment in a new kind of e-conversation, more informal, and yet I found it rich in information. It is also a smaller group, so I am going to end the conversation in a few minutes, any last comments, dear friends.
Ann Dale
 
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Re: Nature, hood and health
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Good idea Ann, I think that would be a very good hook -- not just you should appreciate nature, but that not going outside is killing you!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Thanks Bob, I use that Living Planet report all the time in my teaching -- it is indeed very useful!
leslie king
 
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The Biodiversity Imperative
Thanks, Bob, for those references. We led a series of biodiversity conversations on behalf of Women for Nature, and will be releasing a biodiversity action agenda for all Canadians in the new year. My dream would be for everyone to build networks of networks around this agenda, bring it up at political meetings, send it to your elected officials, get if front and centre on the political agenda. What else can we do, we can't get everyone outside, can we? Maybe the strongest motivation would to make the links between health and nature stronger, use that as a communications campaign--sitting is the new cancer?
Ann Dale
 
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Re: A Question
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Thanks Paul -- and we stubbornly cling to optimism -- because we must -- despair is not an option!
leslie king
 
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Re: A Question
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
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Re: Welcome Everyone
I have to go out and feed my birds! :)
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Nature, hood and health
My head is spinning with all the ideas, connections made between the need to connect not just outside, but nature and urban areas, and the connections that have been made been our health and the outdoors, but in a world where we are paradoxically sitting inside staring at screens. So what do we do, how does one hold onto hope, building upon Leslie's last post?
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Thank you earnold for that book suggestion -- it is a good one and there are several others on that topic. Perhaps we can exchange titles and links?
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Paul Allison
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
And Howling with wolves! Well said Bob! in my previous post, I answered that question-- for me nature is the source of hope -- it's destruction is also a source of despair --"I learned about the increasing threats to biodiversity and what that means to humans. So I learned sadness and loss as well as hope and a calling to educate young people and adults about the lessons, precious nature and vulnerability of the natural world. I wandered the world to understand its nature. Work in Africa and the Arctic reinforced the truth of how dependent humanity is on the natural world physically as well as culturally. Yet I was there also faced with the tragedy of increasing destruction of the natural world even as it becomes more and more precious and scarce. I have dedicated my personal and professional life and career to teaching, research and conservation of the natural world, biodiversity and the richness of the human relationship with nature. I am here today because I hope that, while the youth of today will never experience the natural world as I did, growing up in BC, they can still develop a new and healthy relationship with nature in Canada and the world and will find the joy it has given me my entire life, and satisfaction in the struggle to preserve it. "
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
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Re: Welcome Everyone
bob peart
 
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Re: A question from our e-audience
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
@ earnold: There are so many ways we can design our Cities to enhance or discourage interaction with nature. Any examples?

Here is a useful book on that topic:

Planning Cities with Nature: Theories, Strategies and Methods – by Fabiano Lemes de Oliveira
Paul Allison
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann, you asked me once about where I get my hope, given the situation of the world and the challenges that people face.

My experience is that hope is something different to each person. To me hope comes from the real work of doing stuff and my experience and belief that everyone can truly make a difference. This sense of doing is at the heart of hope. Real hope comes from showing up, doing good things and sharing the truth about the state of the world, people and the climate.

And hope also comes with the pain of acknowledging your sadness. But it is crucial not to let that pain just sit, you need to find a way – your way – to deal with that pain in a positive way so that life can make sense and that you can see a role for yourself, a future pathway.

Hope comes from being outside, running through the forest, yelling at the sky and listening to the birds sing. Then when you have that joy in your heart, take it in and share it with your children, family and friends, as that brings hope.
bob peart
 
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A question from our e-audience
There are so many ways we can design our cities to enhance or discourage interaction with nature. Any examples?
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Paul Allison
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

A Question
In a conversation with a close colleague, one of Canada's foremost biodiversity experts, I learned something I didn't know about. Biodiversity loss is not only the number of species, it is the actual number of wolves, or loss of bees, it is the loss of absolute numbers, the weight of organisms of the species is absolutely decreasing. Our entire world is dependent on biodiversity, is there a critical mass of weight necessary before we reach irreversible thresholds. We tend to focus on species, but the absolute numbers are going down in all species (recent study in Germany and Norway). At the same time, the number of common rats is going up as well as the absolute numbers of human is going up. At present, we are the only species using three earths, therefore, other species have had to reduce their numbers to accommodate us?

That is why I like the Nature Needs Half project, it shows people how critically important habitat is,

Are there other initiatives that we should be promoting, other success stories, what do you think we need to do to reconcile the biodiversity conservation imperative?
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
I review research proposals for the swedish research council and every year we get well developed and supported proposals linking health to urban greening. They have convinced me that this connection is irrefutable!
leslie king
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Shocking figures, Bob. We really have to educate people, educate the heart as well as the mind! and get those kids outside!! This is a parental and educator responsibility.
leslie king
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
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Re: Welcome Everyone
That Rouse quote is wonderful as is your comment -- many thanks Paul!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Healing Gardens
Perhaps we need gardeners, birders, naturalists, museums, art galleries, walking clubs, outdoors clubs to unite around a common biodiversity action agenda? We have 6 guests listening in.
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
[quote="Ann Dale"]You are all giving lots of resources, thanks, we will post them on our website later if people want to explore further.

It is becoming increasing evident that we have become an urban species; as a result our indifference to and the lack of emotional connection with nature is an increasing problem of modern society. The statistics are disturbing:
• Over 20% of children are obese.
• The literature links AHDD and bullying with the lack of unstructured play.
• Asthma and the number of children on drugs/medicine are increasing annually, largely because our immune systems are breaking down …and why are immune systems breaking down – because we aren’t splashing in mud puddles, breathing dust, patting animals, tasting flowers, etc…
• Most children and youth are unable to name the 5 common birds in their backyard…nature has become a vicarious experience on Discovery Channel…
• It is not uncommon for today’s youth to spend up to 6 hours a day in front of a screen…an hour of that sending and receiving texts and checking Facebook.
bob peart
 
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Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann, has anyone joined us or don't we know?
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Healing Gardens
Paul Allison
 
Posts: 15
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Re: Welcome Everyone
That's a great website Paul, but by clicking on it, I kicked myself out of the dialogue. I am back now.
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Amazing Figures
Bob and Paul, those are startling facts, imagine being so prescribed. In my undergraduate child psychology program, we were taught that is you put little children on a roof without a fence, they would play in a much more limited space than if there was a fence delimiting the boundaries. It would seem to me that we need to decide what are the imperatives for human health and create some boundaries? And there are key cultural variables as well.
Ann Dale
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Healing Gardens
Paul Allison
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Love that map!! I was allowed (or perhaps not allowed -- never asked permission, but tolerated-- to go everywhere by myself (except the east end of Vancouver) --More danger from people than from nature!
leslie king
 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Healing Gardens
Paul Allison
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
I was asked this question by a student in Seattle last week and I said --get them outside! She said she already did that and what else could she do? I suggested that she get their teachers outside and then I suggested that she get their parents outside!! Mu Cure-all!
leslie king
 
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Re: A Question
Paul Allison
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
The change in behaviour seemed to take place around the mid-90’s when the wireless world, the screen world emerged. Until that time about 70% of children roamed and played in the outdoors. They left for hours, often ventured a few miles from home and returned home for supper. Now 5-8% of children play outside and when they do so it is for 30-40 minutes and often only a block or so from their house. Completely different behaviour. Behaviour that doesn’t engage the senses. And there is increasing evidence that as a youth, not being outside bringing in all 'those senses' harms the formation of the brain.
bob peart
 
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Healing Gardens
Paul, can you tell me about your work in healing gardens, and what role they can play?
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Ah a very Blakian notion -- "trailing streams of glory"!! I like it -- born in a state of innocence (and bliss)!
leslie king
 
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A Question
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
[quote="Ann Dale"]I wonder if there is a way to bring the outdoors in, I have been arguing for years the the BC ferries should have attached underwater cameras, so people could see the hidden life they are passing over on screens? Welcome, Paul.

Ann, bring the outdoors in? Vicarious nature? I am more in favour of getting people outside and off their screens. Screens can be a adjunct perhaps, but can't substitute for the real thing.

There is also this recent report from Nature Canada.

Screen Time vs Green Time. The health impacts of too much screen time and not being outside.
http://naturecanada.ca/what-we-do/natur ... 1-97190585
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Paul Allison
 
Posts: 15
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Re: Welcome Everyone
I am the middle child -- and I was the wild one -- my parents could not get me inside!!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Thanks Bob, Do we have anyone on the community page?
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
bob peart
 
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Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Don't feel you need to read it now!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Yes Leslie. NatureHood, that is the whole idea, nature in your neighbourhood....nature in your hood. Just explore around where you live, you don't necessarily need to go to a park....

http://naturecanada.ca/what-we-do/naturehood/
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Just to clarify that I am not the one who doesn't like the outdoors (I suspect it is none of us!), I'll add my connection with the outdoors both past and present!
I wrote this little blurb for Nature Canada’s Women and Nature and it sums up my passion for the natural world and my source of hope: Growing up in British Columbia, I was constantly in a state of nature, getting lost in or running away to a ravine behind my grandparent’s house, fishing with my father, holidays on the ocean, wading into lakes or forests to find First Nation’s graves, scrambling up rocks, climbing mountains, skiing, sailing and even experiencing human shaped nature, gardening with my parents on the edge of the sea. The natural world provided beauty, recreation, solace and inspiration as well as the necessities of life. The diversity of life, the birds and beasts in the forests, on the ocean, and even in the vacant lots and railroad cuts of Vancouver were a source of joy, awe, wonder, and humility. Nature was truly my playground and my school where I learned self confidence and self sufficiency as well as the arts of survival and happiness. I learned very early that nature heals all ills and is a never ending source of peace, creativity, curiosity and education. At University I studied the natural world in zoology, botany, literature and art. In graduate school I learned about the increasing threats to biodiversity and what that means to humans. So I learned sadness and loss as well as hope and a calling to educate young people and adults about the lessons, precious nature and vulnerability of the natural world. I wandered the world to understand its nature. Work in Africa and the Arctic reinforced the truth of how dependent humanity is on the natural world physically as well as culturally. Yet I was there also faced with the tragedy of increasing destruction of the natural world even as it becomes more and more precious and scarce. I have dedicated my personal and professional life and career to teaching, research and conservation of the natural world, biodiversity and the richness of the human relationship with nature. I am here today because I hope that, while the youth of today will never experience the natural world as I did, growing up in BC, they can still develop a new and healthy relationship with nature in Canada and the world and will find the joy it has given me my entire life, and satisfaction in the struggle to preserve it.
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Good morning Paul-- aha Pineapple express -- love that expression!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann, is the one who doesn't like the outdoors the oldest? Just curious, because there is often a connection between liking the outdoors and birth order.
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Good morning everyone. Paul here in a very wet Victoria enjoying what they call a 'Pineapple Express' a warm but heavy rain day.
Paul Allison
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Perhaps first we should comment on the name of this edialogue – hmm when I saw the word Nature hood, I immediately thought of Nature in the “hood” which resonates with my interest in preserving and promoting urban biodiversity as both mitigation and adaptation to climate change. . and slowing the loss of global biodiversity!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Good morning Bob-- where did you grow up? apart from in Nature! It's poring here Ann!
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
If people on this dialogue today want evidence they can also access the research library of the Child and Nature Network where they have posted over 300 published refereed papers on the nature-health link and the value of playing in the outdoors at: http://www.childandnaturenetwork.org
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
I spent my youth either running around outside or inside reading (mostly books about nature or outdoor adventure.) As a result I am a naturalist and I still love being outside. My mum liked birds and my dad fussed in the garden, so I guess it came from them. I also had an older cousin who was a biologist and I thought that was cool. So I studied biology and education and have been doing this work all my life.
bob peart
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Welcome Everyone
PS I guess we are early -- I'll calm down and sip my coffee! L
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Welcome Everyone
Thanks Ann, Great to talk to you!! What an interesting idea and thanks very much for the implementation! Cheers and it is raining hard here!! Leslie
leslie king
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:21 am

Welcome Everyone
Tis a snowy wintery day here in the East, thanks for joining me today. This follows on a conversation we had over lunch at Royal Roads University In October when we talked about what was important to us about the environment and our work trying to make a difference. We come from different backgrounds—two pointy headed academics, a wonderful gardener and one of BC’s longstanding environmental activists. This is an informal conversation, and although I will be moderating a little, I also want to participate as one of you. How about I start off?

When my beloved son was little, he told me not to worry about him being an only child, as all the trees were his friends. That about sums it up for as well, I never understood why I had to go inside a church to talk to god, when I believed they were all around me outside, in the lake, in the sun, the moon and the stars. I must admit, however, I am getting rather depressed, especially with the latest IPCC report saying we basically have 12 years to get real about climate action, or we face irreversible effects. And the recent warning about biodiversity loss are even more alarming.

Rather than talking about the evidence, which is now overwhelming, and if you are interested, please go to our curated biodiversity resource library, for more detailed information at

What about you Bob, what makes you so passionate about nature?”
Ann Dale
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm


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