We got an email last week which made us angry, dummies were spat across the office and the toys were forcefully ejected from the pram. The source of annoyance? Well, someone described us as nice!
How very dare they!
I realise as insults, criticism and name calling goes it doesn’t seem at all bad and we’ve certainly been called much more severe things than that. However I will explain why on this occasion we are certainly not NICE!
We’ve been talking to a few select major retailers about supporting the Trust. One particular, well known company responded in a ‘nicely’ worded email to politely decline, which we were received in good grace until we reached this phrase ‘we like to focus donating to the very needy rather than the ‘nice to do’ charities’ (Just reading it again has caused the destruction of another mug).
Ok, so there is a perception that green spaces are a ‘nice’. They certainly provide a ‘nice’ place to walk, a ‘nice’ place to run, a ‘nice’ place to play with the kids, a ‘nice’ place for a kickabout, a ‘nice’ place to experience nature, a ‘nice’ place to relax, a ‘nice’ place to hold an event and so on. So maybe they have a point when you compare these ever so nice things to some of the big ‘needy’ issues of the age for instance cancer, heart disease, social exclusion, mental health, youth crime, climate change, endangered species and disappearing natural habitats.
Well No, No and No again, they most certainly have Not!
Now for the science – you become needy because something somewhere is wrong. If you address the wrong then you remove the need or to put it simpler prevention is better than cure. Now don’t get me wrong charities that work with the needy do a fantastic job, we’d be in far worse place without them and I don’t for one moment want to decry what they do. However it comes back to the old saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
But why should anyone consider green space as not needy? Green spaces, when well managed has been proven to a major factor in the prevention and recovery of all the illnesses mentioned above (and more besides). They have been proven to cut crime and enhance social exclusion. They are scientifically proven to mitigate climate change and they protect our native wildlife and habitats. There’s also the fact they can provide a vital educational resource and boost the economy by providing the right setting for investment – removing even more need. In simple economic terms ‘prevention rather than cure’ and definitely not a ‘nice to do’.
So listen up all you retailers, donors, and potential sponsors – give us your money because we are definitely not nice! http://blogs.thelandtrust.org.uk/donate/