Guest post by Jane Crowley, manager and researcher of The (re)Generation Project, a program run by Macquarie University
I believe that all humans have an innate and instinctive affiliation to other living systems, that being connected to nature is in our biology, it’s just being able to retrieve these in the fast paced urbanised world that we live in, that’s the challenge.
When I think back to some of my favourite childhood memories, they generally involve long days at the beach, roaming the local park for the biggest tree to climb, finding the secret cave in the bush to play in, or following a creek in search for tadpoles.
For me, these early personal connections with the natural world have been powerful and I know they have helped me heal and learn, but also they have helped me form ties with the earth that we depend on.
But things are changing and most kids don’t have the same exposure to nature that I did…
So, how do we inspire a new generation back to the bush?
I’m running a project called The (re)Generation Project through Macquarie University that is exploring the power of storytelling from young people to inspire a new generation into nature.
We’re all storytellers, it’s how we communicate with each other, it’s how we educate each other, it’s how entertain each other and it’s often how we can instil moral values in each other. As a storyteller, you are providing the viewer with the material for them to form their own connection rather than telling them what to do.
So for the past five weeks with the support from Digital Storytellers, we’ve been helping about 20 14-27 years olds craft their stories into short films, which we plan on sharing with the world in hope to reignite some of that love for nature that perhaps many have lost.
We have such an interesting, creative, passionate group of young people involved, with a very diverse range of stories. A shark girl in Bellingen, a young Indigenous man’s story of healing, a fictional piece that personifies nature’s different personalities, and the respite in a roof top garden in Bangladesh, and more… Most who have never made a film in their life, but I’ve learnt along the way that it doesn’t need to be well polished high production to have impact.
As long as the story is honest and real, it has the power to shift perceptions, open minds and maybe even influence behaviour.
It does seem nonsensical that we have lost touch with where our existence stems from, and that looking after the earth like we do for our friends and family, should really be a way of life, rather than boxed into some kind of stereotyped radical. Perhaps stories are a way to break down these stereotypes of looking after the environment, and to just share some of the wonder and magic of our natural world to get people connected again.
Do you need a bit of nature love? The films will be shared at a free public screening on 30 October. Join us at Riverside Theatres Parramatta. The event is free but seats are limited so book here. Watch the films, hear the stories, meet the filmmakers and learn about what we’re doing to reconnect young people with the natural world.
For more information use the following links:
>> Thank you to Jane Crowley for collaborating with us here at CANstudio. We canNOT wait to watch the films and connect with the great work that you do.