Wales – ‘National Parks and the Future Generation’

Some might say (as put by Oasis), that we live in an era that has over indulged in technology; where uploading on social media has become more fundamental than inputting into the brain; where we’re more connected, linked and wired but to all the wrong things.

Is the most popular form of escapism focused on zoning in on a small screen and accessing a digital reality? Are we responsible for a younger generation becoming obsessed with digital perfectionism?  Are we evolving at such a pace with technology that we’ve forgotten about the world that evolved before us?

Most importantly, is there an antidote to all of this? Yes, quite frankly, there is and it’s called ‘National Parks’.  With a global presence ‘National Parks’ are a reminder to the world about what’s real, authentic and natural; special places of seclusion that can detox the mind and reprogram the brain using a formula that technology will never compete with.

The United Kingdom is home to fifteen National Parks, collectively they define what it means to be British and singly they represent the natural fabric of England, Wales or Scotland.  The mystical pre-dawn mist rising from Loch Lomond, the visible Milky Way in the dark skies above Northumberland and the dramatic rocky peaks through Snowdonia.  This is real escapism.  A chance to be distracted by what is real rather than to be entertained by what is not.  The majestic golden eagle gliding through the artic-alpine landscape of the Cairngorms, the high sea cliffs of Exmoor and the distinct mountain ridges of the Brecon Beacons.

These designated landscapes have guardians; National Park teams across the country protect, conserve and sustain the natural environment.  The living and working landscapes are home to almost half a million people and they protect 10% of England, 20% of Wales and 8% of Scotland.

National Parks are protected landscapes that were created to be enjoyed by the people of the UK; they belong to the people and it is absolutely essential that people use and engage with them.

Figures produced by the Education Policy Institute revealed that more than one in three British fifteen year olds are “extreme internet users” – spending at least six hours a day online.  This is more than their counterparts in all other OECD countries, apart from Chile and the negative effects of such usage are well known, mentally and physically.

Therefore, is now not a truly appropriate time for society and those who govern us to appreciate the value of the UK’s National Parks; unique places of natural beauty where one can disconnect from technology and become inspired through reconnecting with nature.

Does responsibility now sit with our generation to steer the ship for those younger than us, so they’ll understand the importance of nature, of being in nature.  Should we (and our governments) aspire to create a generation of “extreme nature users” and through doing so, would we have developed a generation that can provide solutions to climate change and over-consumption (that we have so far failed them on)?

One thing is for sure as we progress and that is how fundamental National Parks are in the UK and the world.