I’m sure this is not particular to London dwellers, but we are as guilty as many who live in beautiful and wealthy cities but do not take full advantage of them. Conversation Between Friends believes that we are all part of a micro-community as well as the larger ‘society’. In some ways because the larger society and social cohesion is becoming so fractured, it’s more important than ever to belong or be part of something local.
I actually visited the Wetlands Centre in the heart of Barnes with my family although I have driven past it more times that I can remember. It was an oasis in the heart of an affluent suburb. The the only things that were rich and showy were the spectacular birds and wildfowl. We paid for a family ticket through Living Social, which meant the entry price was fairly well discounted. The face value entry price was one of the reasons why we haven’t visited before.
We spent five hours there and it was five, slow relaxing hours in which we learned or were reminded of the value of water, in particular fresh water to our delicate eco-system, of which humans are playing a dominating part.
I learned that only 3% of water in the world is freshwater. I considered the complexities of town planning if you live in a flood plain. I learned about more animals and wild life that are nearing extinction and what we can each do to reduce this race against time. I watched a sickening video about the layers of cooking fat that are congealed and blocked under London’s busiest streets. I was reminded about the importance of teaching our children to be global citizens and aware of the world around them and their impact on it.
But most of all, I learned not to ignore the hidden treasures on all of our doorsteps. Some of them are free, some aren’t, some need your entry fee to continue their good works, some are just another way to get to know your neighbourhood better, and really understand your place in it.
© Suzy Rigg