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Nature and Childhood - What are the first steps towards building a movement for change?

On the second and third day of Nature and Childhood: From Research and Activism to Policies for Global Change, participants gave their insights on one of the session's Hot Topics

Photo by Sandra Birklbauer/Salzburg Global Seminar

Carly Sikina | 09.03.2018

“I think it has start with a deep frustration… I used to live in Lebanon all my life and [then] I moved out of Lebanon for three years to study… [and] when I came back, I saw that the situation could be better. So, I was very frustrated about the lack of public green spaces in the city and I was very frustrated that I couldn’t go to the park… I think [movements have] to start from a frustration of someone or a group of people. And then you have to have the vision to know that it is possible to [do]… I don’t believe in the top-down approach at all, I believe in the bottom-up [approach]. And it starts with a group of people who are really passionate about [something] and then it becomes so contagious that people start seeing that ‘oh, there is an issue to be solved here.’”

Dima Boulad

Designer and Co-Founder, Beirut Green Project, Lebanon

“I think the first [step] is building or rebuilding love for nature, from childhood to the adulthood… So I think, to build some movements in the [person’s] childhood, to have the connection to nature, this is the first step. But, I don’t think that’s enough because for the decisions, I think it’s important to get it heard and get it known because now if we see what’s going on all around, I don’t think those people really want bad for the earth… but this is just not in their minds when they are doing their daily decisions. So, if we can raise the voice of all of us who believes that the connection to nature is crucial, for all of us… [maybe] it will influence decision-making as well.”

Katalin Czippán

International Consultant, Education and Communication for Sustainable Development Issues, National University of Public Service (NUPS), Hungary
“First of all is to really have a simple idea that people can relate to… Then, helping them see that idea in their own context…. [And] being inclusive for everyone – what does this mean for youth? What does it mean for children? What does it mean for, in my world, parks and protected areas?... Then I would say the other preliminary step… is to have a way of getting your stories out there, to make sure that nothing you’re doing isn’t communicated and [everything is] shared in a way that is personal and real… so that others can relate to it. Keeping something to yourself isn’t going to start a movement – it really is a matter of sharing the beginning, middle and end of the process from a personal perspective that will inspire others and ultimately, that sharing of stories… is what starts to affect change.”

Karen Keenleyside

Vice Chair for People and Parks, IUCN WCPA; Co-Chair, IUCN #NatureForAll; Senior Advisor, #NatureForAll, Parks Canada, Canada

“I think it starts with two or more people who identify a common problem and then establish a goal that they want to achieve to remedy that problem. They talk to other stakeholders, people in the community, government officials, other institutions and start to see who shares the belief in the problem and who wants to go along with that goal and who might have ideas to modifying that goal to bring in more stakeholders. And it builds from there.”

Andrew Moore

Director of Youth and Young Adult Connection, National League of Cities, USA

Have an opinion on our HOT TOPIC? Tweet @SalzburgGlobal with the hashtag #SGSparks

Download Issue 2 of Nature and Childhood: From Research and Activism to Policies for Global Change

The session, Nature and Childhood: From Research and Activism To Policies for Global Change, is part of Salzburg Global Seminar multi-year series Parks for the Planet Forum. The session has being held in partnership with IUCN, Children&Nature Network, NLC and Outdoor Classroom Day. To keep up with the conversations taking place during the session, follow #SGSparks on Twitter and Instagram.


Carly Sikina