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Cambridge University Science Magazine
Naturalist and wildlife presenter Chris Packham used his time with a captive audience to deliver a clear message: the ecological crisis can be lessened if, and only if, we act now. Delivering the Darwin Day Lecture in London, an annual event organised by Humanists UK, he discussed humankind’s innate fascination with the natural world and how childhood experiences nurture this connection to nature. He highlighted that through our recent obsession with safety and cleanliness, we now lock children out of nature, instead of encouraging them to explore and experience it. Packham spoke movingly of his experience meeting the Orang Rimba people in 1998, an isolated community of hunter gatherers living in Sumatra, and of being profoundly moved by their supreme confidence and beauty living in balance with their natural habitat. Revisiting in 2018, he found survivors of this group now living amongst plantations on ground littered with plastic, a change we are all responsible for inflicting. Emphasising how humans can make rapid and systemic change when faced with an acknowledged emergency, he urged us all to shout loudly above the political noise, ensuring this issue is pushed to the top of every person’s priority list.

By: Kate Howlett