May 2, 2023
Open To Debate: Who gets to spend time in nature?
This is the first episode in our three-piece series on the past, present, and future of public spaces in Canada. In these episodes we’ll cover nature, cities, and big national undertakings – things we do, have done, or might do together in spaces meant for all of us. We’ll also discuss threats to public spaces, of which there are many, and what is being done to address them.
Now, nature is the ultimate public space. There is something fundamental about it. Something essential. Nature pre-existed the built world and in one form or another it will outlast it, too. But not everyone has equal access to nature, and some communities and groups are less likely to have that access. In that way, it’s very much like other spaces, the ones we have created.
There are a number of reasons people ought to have both a right and an ability to access public spaces in nature. Among them are physical health, mental health, education, and pure, simple joy. One organization is fighting to secure that access, especially for youth from low-income households and BIPOC communities. To understand their work, and the battle for green public spaces, we ask: Who gets to spend time in nature?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Andrew Young, the executive director of Outward Bound Canada.