Reflections on “Parks for the Planet – Nature and Childhood”

“From Research and Activism to Policies for Global Change” ~ Salzburg Global Seminar (session 608)

This month of March, we got invited to attend a close-knit policy formation dialogue convened by Salzburg Global Seminar. The session convened over 27 participants from all over the world coming from different sectors and with different backgrounds. The issue to be discussed: “how to create policy that will stimulate change in the way children enjoy nature and play”.

The four day discussion was carefully curated with presentations from participants showcasing previous work done with children and conserving nature. There was a rich mix of experiences and a wealth of information that was shared between fellows. Lots was said around the importance of play on mental health and development of children, and even much more on including children in the advocacy dialogue.

Partnerships for Impact © Salzburg Global Seminar

There were interesting case studies from participants like Dima Boulad on how she rallied community involvement to promote greening as well as from Megumi Matsubara on how her and her team involved children in designing a community playground. Meg Otieno of Wildlife Clubs of Kenya gave a presentation on how children who were involved in animal caring within the school compound were more likely to attend classes regularly. It was generally the consensus that engaging children at an early age with nature had the tremendous impact of building a sense of love and appreciation for the nature and environment that surrounds them.

Towards the close of the session, participants broke out in groups of four to tackle relevant action points with the goal of developing a statement that will guide policy design for change. Our key take home from our work group was that in order to influence policy, one needs to access key partners for impact and gate keepers, all the while keeping children at the heart of the message.

Going forward as a company, BLI will be investing in organisations that demonstrate an impact on nature conservation, health and all-round quality education.