Making Nature At Home
To engage people in understanding and caring about the nature that makes its home where they live.
Wherever we live, we are close to endangered nature. However, our 21st-century lifestyle is making us increasingly disconnected from those special creatures and plants. Making Nature at Home aims to reconnect people with their local nature.
There are two related problems: we are becoming more and more disconnected from the sources and impacts of all of our stuff, and we are benefiting less and less from the health and well-being benefits of nature.
In the developed world the supply chains to produce the things that we consume have become more and more complex. We are largely unaware of what economists call externalities – the true impact of the production, use and disposal of everything that we have. Our consumer lifestyle is underpinned by global supply chains where the focus is on doing things as cheaply as possible and not minimising the impact on people or planet. Hence, we are unknowingly destroying the homes of wild creatures to give us the things that we believe we need.
The physical and mental health benefits of interacting with nature are well established. Despite this, the people most in need of these benefits are increasingly unable or discouraged from having these interactions.
Making nature a home will encourage volunteers to gather information on the special nature that makes its home in a particular location and then to map and adopt these homes. For example, adoption could be monitoring and maintaining a birds nest box or the remote monitoring of a badger sett.
The ultimate aim is to raise awareness of local nature and to create an emotional connection between people and that nature (“that is my nest box and hence they are my sparrows”). Where I live, the developers building new houses and offices are putting up bird and bat boxes, which could be sponsored by the new owners.
The first step is to research who is already doing something in this area. Which major conservation organisations have done something that lets people map and monitor homes for nature? Various organisations ask for sightings and publish maps (e.g. In the UK: RSPB for swifts and BHPS for hedgehogs), but do any then do anything active with this? What can be done with man-made “homes” and what can be done with natural “homes”? What are the limitations to recording / sharing this information?
In parallel with this we should research what technical tools are available to develop, manage and share maps and to integrate some of the maps that are already out there. Google are encouraging people to use MyMaps to create this kind of map (they use shark sightings as an example), but the map and underlying data become Google’s property.
The third step is to test the emerging thinking out on suitable groups, ideally including children. We could work with organisations like The Wild Network or The Children & Nature Network to test ideas and get children and families engaged.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
The initial project will be to determine what is possible with current freely available mapping software such as Google's Mymaps, and what the limitations might be in terms of wildlife protection laws. Hence, the project will need the support of one or more conservation NGOs covering a specific geographical area (e.g. one or more English counties)
HOW CAN I HELP?
To investigate organisations that are currently doing similar things around the world. It is likely that different organisations focus on particular species, particular taxonomies, or particular locations.
Time 8+ hours per week.
To review currently available technology and suggest an appropriate way of prototyping the Making Nature a Home engine.
Time 4+ hours per week.
Determine the legislative constraints that the project is likely to face in the area chosen for the proof of concept.
Time 4 hours per week.
Coordinate the work of the project team, communicate with potential partners, and determine an appropriate scope for the proof of concept.
Time 4+ hours per week.
FRIDAY 8 FEBRUARY, 23:59 GMT
The project will last for between 9-12 weeks and you can now apply to join the project to make change happen!