Rexyt’s charming new short film proves the UK’s woods and trees are a vital part of our world. In the animation ‘A Squirrel in Search of Sanctuary’, Red Squirrel (such a sweet little thing, I was cheering him on all the way!) is pushed out by development from wood to city. Finding himself alone and lost among the trophies of the planning system in a dirty and unfriendly concrete environment, his final reprieve turns out to be one precariously isolated within its walls.
For the last ten years we have been analysing data shared by Local Authorities identifying those woodlands near to neighbourhoods. The release of the next chapter in our Space for People research this week shows an encouraging increase in data identifying those neighbourhoods which are close enough to wooded areas for everyone to enjoy the maximum benefits they offer. That inimitable harmony between plants and animals will nurture and stimulate an ecosystem that is rich with remedies, fresh air, energy and potential. In turn this will nurture and stimulate a healthy, clean, productive and active society. Yet 85% of us are still not so lucky. We think it’s conceivable that, together, we could see this figure at least halved. The ask might be ambitious, but the results of Space for People epitomise the thinking behind ‘More Trees, More Good’ the way Red epitomises a future without it.
On second viewing, I realise there is a happy ending for Red within those remaining few trees. If Red and his friends are allowed to stay (safely), together they will grow and expand beside those statues of industry and welcome them to dwell in the garden they will freely create. All trees are host to ecosystems which form part of the cycle of life. And just as John Donne said of man, none is an island. They – as we – need to be around each other to really thrive. Even the most majestic relics of woodland cover were part of nature’s wider community once. Busy in our own communities of place, faith and interest, we need to also embrace nature. We need more trees and woods in and around our neighbourhoods. Let’s face it: we’re good together!
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