Bring back our blackberries, reunite us with newts!
Sometimes something happens that brings to life perfectly the issues we're facing that are causing our children to lose their connection to nature.
You may have read about the removal of around 50 nature words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. They were replaced by newer words, more 'up-to-date' words. Blackberry replaced blackberry. Acorns and Ivy are out, flip-charts and spreadsheets are in...
On the face of it, it's a crazy decision and it’s easy to point the finger at OJD.
But then its equally easy to see why they’ve done it. You can read more on this in an article in the Guardian.
This change alone might not have a fundamental impact. But that's the point, the problem is caused by multiple decisions made by us all; the compound effect is children that are becoming more obese and less happy. We’re all responsible; we’re all part of a system that has marginalised wildness from our lives. If we don’t experience nature and wildness on a day-to-day level then we lose our connection and we suffer as a result. As for the words, if we don’t use them, then we lose them. It's how the world works these days. Like it or not, it's a horribly viscous circle with all of us at the centre.
When you boil it down, the whole issue is about the very notion of what it is to be human. As a species we are shaped by our relationships with the things that surround us and, for almost all of our existence, that has meant almost exclusively the relationship with nature. If we only participate in relationships with our own human-made technologies, systems and processes, then that is how we will be defined, and in that case what do we lose in the process? What future are we forcing on to our children by failing to use the words that animate and describe nature to them?
OJD might only be the tip of an iceberg, but an iceberg it is. We think it's time to draw the line.
So, we're out to prove OJD wrong. We want to show that wild words can be fun, relevant and modern.
Who better then than our good friend Chris -the man behind dad rap (remember that?)- in Project Wild Thing to come up with some Wild Words to inspire you into action.
And our message to Oxford Junior Dictionary is clear. Give us our wild words back!
So get involved and sign this petition. Let's change this decision!
In return, let's promise to cherish them and to do our best to fall in love with them again. Let's promise to share our love of wild words in our families, communities and schools.
Have we got a deal?
We're seeking young voices who want to share their perspectives on what it is to roam free and play wild, or the challenges of not being able to. If you know a young person who wants to share their voice and be a part of our wild vlogging crew then send them our way. Get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you liked Chris’ film you might also like his blog. Check it out here.*
(*May occasionally contain the odd swear word, just so you know.)