This morning, Brampton College welcomed back Jo Roberts, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation. Brampton College has a long-standing relationship with the Foundation and has donated money via our Charitable Trust to some of its key projects, including The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative and Wilderness Therapy.
The Zoom talk to our lower sixth students, explored how there’s a fundamental relationship between humans and the natural world. Referencing a book, ‘Last Child in the Woods’ by Richard Louv, Jo talked about a nature-deficit disorder and robust evidence showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of both children and adults. She explained that nature is rehabilitative, and how the Foundation’s Wilderness Therapy programme helps to transform the lives of vulnerable children and adults through nature immersion.
Jo shared her thoughts about how the exponential growth of the human population has resulted in more people in cities losing contact with the natural world and the rural sector. Jo provided startling facts such as how the US population only spend 8% of their time outdoors. She believes this decline of being in nature has resulted in a rise of mental health issues. For example, in 2019, £94 billion was spent by the UK government on mental health services, a higher cost to the NHS than heart disease.
With the world’s climate change crisis and the horrific decline in both species and rainforests, Jo talked about an increasing urgency to protect the wilderness across the world. Jo explained how young people today are inheriting a world that is going through extreme, irreversible changes because of climate change, and how the Wilderness foundation believes we must support this young generation and empower them to help save the planet. She believes we must all do our bit and told us how her diet has become more plant based in an effort to encourage regenerative farming.
To conclude, Jo implored our students to get outside, into nature, as much as possible. She cited mounds of evidence overs years of research showing how nature can heighten both self-esteem and mood. To hear the positive impact nature can have, please take a look at one of the Foundation’s videos, here. It’s a touching and insightful film ‘Nature for the New Normal’ that was made in partnership with Dan Stockman, an independent filmmaker, earlier this year. Each young person gives a personal account of the lockdown and how it affected their mental health and how the positive effect of nature helped improve their wellbeing and outlook on the future.
Many thanks Jo for such an enlightening and heart-felt talk.