Nature – KS5

Nature for KS5

NatureWhat is the value of nature? How do we relate to nature? How could or should we relate?


We’ll start by watching three talks. Then there are some suggested questions to help you think about the talks, and discuss them in class and with your family and friends.


Watch the talks…

“Soil, Soul and Society”
Satish Kumar

“What has Nature ever done for us?”
Tony Juniper

“Theme and variation in nature and culture”
Peter Randall-Page


Think and discuss…

These are suggested questions about what you heard and saw in the three videos, to help your discussion in class.

  1. At the beginning of his talk, Tony Juniper describes how politicians present a false choice between the economy and ecology, and he presents an alternative towards the end. Why and how do we value nature? What value does nature have in itself? What value does it have for us? What is the difference and how is it important?
  2. Satish Kumar wants to replace Descartes’ statement “I think, therefore I am” with the relational “Earth is, therefore I am” and “You are, therefore I am”. Peter Randall-Page spoke of and showed images of the great beauty in nature. He made many connections between nature and art, music, science, mathematics and psychology, and said: “I’m interested in what makes us tick”. How does nature make you tick?
  3. Tony gave a lot of examples of how humans have interrupted natural processes, including the following, leading to sometimes huge negative impacts. What did you think when you heard these? How did you feel? The issues can feel overwhelming. How could you respond?
    • Coastal wetlands reduce the power of tropical storms and tsunamis.
    • Oceans absorb carbon dioxide, but too much and the balance is affected.
    • Peat filters and purifies fresh water. Both peat and woodland absorb rainfall so it reaches rivers more slowly and reduces the risk of flooding.


Keep thinking and talking…

How do you feel when you are outside?

Nature inspires many feelings. For example, Satish Kumar showed great joy when describing his orchard, and Tony Juniper spoke of storms and tsunamis which are rightly to be feared.

Compare how you feel when you are outside with how you feel when you are inside. What difference does it make if you can see green plants or are near water?

Some people have suggested that one of the ways to happiness is to notice the world around you.

Peter Randall-Page spoke about the patterns he has observed in nature. Use all your senses to notice what is around you now. What can you see, touch, taste, smell or hear that was not made by humans?

When you are next outside, in a break or on your way home from school, put your technology away, go for a short walk, and spend time noticing nature around you. Some of us naturally notice the details. Others get the vibe of the big picture. Even in the city, there is plenty of nature in the cracks. Feel the sun and wind on your face.

How can we care for the rest of nature?

Take one or more examples from Tony Juniper’s talk of what nature has done for us, and research them further.

For example, pollination is vital to two-thirds of our food crops. How does pollination work? Find more evidence for the value of pollinators to humans, their other interdependent relationships in nature, and their intrinsic value. What impacts have human activities had on pollinators? These might be direct, eg use of pesticides, or more indirect, eg via climate change. What about the impact of your own activities? What are the obstacles to addressing negative impacts? What could be helpful? Think about government policy and regulations, business interests, the general public’s opinions and feelings, using the sciences and the arts. What difference could you personally make?

Now think more generally. How can we cultivate a greater interest in caring for nature and better understanding of how we go about it? What are the obstacles and what could be helpful?