The second day was marked by me being a bit more adventurous in my questioning. The Ornamental Lake is a popular fishing spot, and a great place to see various waterbirds and fish. It’s a prime habitat and a pretty one too. It’s important to keep these habitats alive and well, as that is what makes them beautiful to behold anyway.
On the horizon I spot a marquee: Perfect! Ok, I’ll admit, I sometimes only care about the aesthetic of the photos I take, but in this case I also got to be part of something good. This marquee was there as a surprise birthday venue for a woman working at No Limits in Southampton. She told me all about the charity, how they’re a cause which helps people up to 26 years old deal with hardships. These are the people who will look out for you. If you want to know more about the charity, or feel you might need their help, visit nolimitshelp.org.uk
Children are the future and it’s always nice to see them out in nature. The Common recently redeveloped its play area with the hope of getting more kids out and interacting with the natural world, however this still isn’t as popular as I would have expected. If there isn’t enough education about the nature around them, children will not feel inclined to explore it as they grow up. I think it’s massively important that the focus of education in the UK and around the world becomes more about inspiration and ambition rather than memorisation. As an Environmental Science student, it makes it that bit more exciting to see young people passionate about making the world better, even given the problems that we face up ahead.
"We're Historia Normannis, a 12th Century Norman reenactment group. The society has been going since 2007, the Southampton group for 4 years. We do shows every year at castles all around the country, recently in Kenilworth Castle with sieges and things being set on fire. Today we're training all the guys to fight safely, make lots of noise, and die well." #humans #southampton #common #medieval #society
I took a long hiatus after a week or two in order to focus on my studies, however upon returning I was lucky enough to bump into this group. Medieval reenactment is like super-hyper-mega-nostalgia, right? Thankfully they weren’t using realistic diseases. The group did, however, provide quite the sight for people walking by. Many would stop and watch. The same thing often happens when sports teams practice on the common. These little events going on around us help make life a little more interesting, and it’s part of the Society of the Spectacle. That term was coined to describe an ideal society where planned or spontaneous cultural events take place across society, and cities are designed around the concept of making every day truly brand new. Parks are great for this as the natural world is chaotic and ever changing, so would naturally form a centrepiece of this proposed society.
Then, this autumn, I decided to shift my mood. I had now realised that something wonderful was happening in parks, but was surprised by a survey showing that we may not be as connected to nature as we once thought.
“I like walking up here because I like looking at all the wildlife. I’d like to be a country person but, unfortunately, I live in the city and grew up in Winchester so really I’m a city person.” “I was brought up in Southampton. The parks here aren’t looked after so well. There’s still as many as there used to be but not as well kept. They were amazing when I was younger. It’s a lot busier now. To escape, I go to the New Forest. It’s wonderful over there, no people, you can be on your own with just a dog.” “It’s busy here, but I think it is nice that so many people can use it.” “Well, I feel quite connected to nature. I feed hedgehogs, birds, all sorts. I just love it; the natural environment is where I feel happiest.” “I’ve felt more connected since having a dog. Really, I probably wouldn’t come here if it weren’t for the dog.” . #southampton #life #people #nature #urban #park
And so my questioning shifted. I wanted to know something else: how connected are you with nature? The city dwellers I have spoken to have all admitted that they’re either only into it because of the dog, or that they aren’t outdoorsy but would like to be. Perhaps it’s some instinctive desire within us all to get out into nature and enjoy it. Yet people still complain about the way the parks are degrading. In the urbanising world, more and more people are feeling isolated from the instinctive need to be in the wild.
I needed to get to the bottom of this, and I do so in the third part of this series.