Some of the Best Things have come from Ridiculous Ideas. Living Adventurously 49

Dan Raven-Ellison is a Guerrilla Geographer & Creative Explorer. He led the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City and is working on a new project called “Slow Ways” to collaboratively create a network of 4,000+ walking routes that connect all of Great Britain’s towns and cities.

Dan Raven-Ellison is a Guerrilla Geographer & Creative Explorer. He led the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City and is working on a new project called “Slow Ways” to collaboratively create a network of 4,000+ walking routes that connect all of Great Britain’s towns and cities. Walking can improve health and wellbeing, tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, save people money, improve our environment and bring joy to people’s lives.
In 2018 Dan also completed a completed a 100 metre nano-expedition for Friends of the Earth to make The UK in 100 Seconds, a short film that reveals what the United Kingdom looks like in its correct proportions. Each second of the film equals 1% of what the UK looks like from the air.

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SHOW NOTES

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  • London National Park City - https://www.nationalparkcity.london/
  • Slow Ways - https://ravenellison.com/portfolio/slow-ways/
  • Banksy's artwork is about putting things 'out of place' and this gets people thinking differently about the world
  • Guerrilla gardening and Seed Bombs - https://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html
  • Thinking about, and exploring places in different ways
  • Chooses slow burn, disruptive, difficult projects
  • When I see things not being done I find it hard not to fill those spaces, even if it takes a few years
  • Exploration is about asking questions, searching for answers, being curious. It is about taking risks to find those answers
  • We are all explorers and subconscious adventurers
  • Enjoys asking "What if?" questions
  • The UK in 100 seconds - https://vimeo.com/291108273
  • Some of the best things that have happened comes from ridiculous ideas
  • Slow Ways - a network of walking routes connecting Britain's towns and cities
  • We have 200,000km of access routes in the UK, but they are often neglected now.
  • What if we reimagined all these footpaths to make them more useful once again?
  • 7000 routes mapped out by 700 volunteers. These can be daisy-chained together.
  • If there is a choice between a high route and a low route, the option in Slow Ways should always be the low, easy route.
  • 15,000 species, 8 species of bats, one of the most biodiverse regions of the country: Greater London
  • Every recognised habitat has national parks - why not cities too?
  • We need to recognise the value of urban landscapes and not treat them as less important
  • The soft power of love and caring for wildlife can make a big difference to wildlife
  • Do Nothing for Nature - great campaign idea: https://makelifebetter.nationalparkcity.london/quest/do_nothing_for_nature
  • Map of the London National Park City - https://www.nationalparkcity.london/map
  • Map of the Green Spaces of London, in the style of the Tube Map - https://www.nationalparkcity.london/component/content/article/8-place/134-the-greenground-map-by-helen-ilus
  • Trees of London map - https://londonist.com/london/maps/great-trees-of-london-map
  • Urban Good wants you to explore - https://www.urbangood.org/
  • London is full of empty childhoods. Children are an indicator species to the health of a community.
  • By not letting kids play outside parents are depriving them of so much (including their health)
  • Shifting baseline syndrome
  • Childhood needs to be safe enough, but not totally safe
  • What if? Why not' is the mantra of NPC
  • Why are we not prioritising nature, wildlife, childhoods in our cities?
  • We need to open imaginations and also highlight injustices
  • The geographies of why different groups of people are not going outside is very complicated and varied - the answers can change from one end of a street to another.
  • Other than white men - every other social group is under-represented in nature
  • Taking people out into nature and showing them it is an important way to broaden the range of people who experience it
  • People like watching nature on TV, but don't really care about it enough to actually care for it
  • The power of the story, and giving people epiphanies, is key to getting ideas off the ground
  • There is so much to be positive about. 
  • Within cities we already have all the talent we need to make changes. The trouble is that the ideas are not spreading quickly enough and for action to take place.
  • It often takes years to get to the starting point. 
  • It's often about jumping into the void and hoping for the best
  • We have very distorted impressions about land use and how much space there is in our countries.
  • 5-7% of the country has been built on. 50% is used for agriculture ('milk and cheese')
  • Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet
  • If we were to double the size of all hedgerows and holloways it would be fantastic, and easy
  • Thinking about our diets is a critical approach to making more space for nature
  • There's a movement to leave half of the planet for nature, including gardens and window boxes
  • Let's not 'protect' wild places, but actively create more wild places and create nature and wildlife. It's very exciting - even regarding things like gardening
  • I am a pragmatic optimist
  • Bland comments like "saving nature" are not helpful. And we have already lost millions and millions of individual lives.
  • How will future generations regard our actions?
  • Do more good stuff more of the time
  • Good Netflix viewing - Into The Night - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGosoC7q_po
  • The best place to hide in hide&seek is up a tree
  • Infographic of Jeff Bezos' wealth - https://mkorostoff.github.io/1-pixel-wealth/

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© 2019 Alastair Humphreys