Explorer and former geography teacher, Daniel Raven-Ellison cares about the city that he calls home, and seeks to prove the value and importance of green spaces in London in making the urban metropolis as sustainable and liveable as possible.
Committed to making London recognised as a National Park City, Daniel Raven-Ellison has made it his mission to raise awareness of the importance of green spaces and wildlife in the capital, and in 2013 set up the initiative, Greater London National Park City.
The aim of the Greater London National Park City initiative is to get London recognised as a national park.
The recognition, according to Daniel Raven-Ellison, is not for the government to designate, but for Londoners themselves to turn the vision of the capital a National Park City into a reality.
London is home to home to 8.6 million people, as well as more than 8.3 million trees and 13,000 species of wildlife.
Daniel Raven-Ellison says: “Londoners share a very long and proud tradition of protecting and enjoying our natural and cultural heritage. Friends of parks, town planners, the Royal Family, the Corporation of London, the Greater London Authority, conservationists, councils, government departments, developers, builders, charities, campaigners, allotment keepers and generations of millions of gardeners – all continue to contribute to making our capital one of the greenest cities in the world for its size.
“A defining quality of the Greater London National Park City will be to stimulate an atmosphere in which millions of people take everyday actions to improve the quality of their lives and enhance the city itself.”
Initial aims of the Greater London National Park City Partnership will be to work with others to ensure all Londoners have free and easy access to high-quality green space; connect children to nature; make the majority of London physically green; improve London’s air and water quality; improve the richness, connectivity and biodiversity of London’s habitats; and inspire green living.
Last summer, the National Geographic Explorer completed an epic walk around London that took him through all 32 of the city’s boroughs, 242 parks, 23 rivers and saw him cross the Thames no less than 11 times in a bid to make London the world’s first ever National Park City.
Daniel Raven-Ellison, who has walked across some of the world’s largest cities, hiked a giant spiral around London during the course of nearly five weeks – racking up a total of 160 hours on his feet, 560 kilometres and walking nearly 800,000 steps. He started his journey in Enfield on Friday 23 June 2017 and crossed the final finish line in Temple on Wednesday 26th July 2017.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has given his backing to make London a National Park City and 319 wards across 33 boroughs have declared their support so far.
Daniel Raven-Ellison and his organisation, Greater London National Park City, are calling on Londoners to help in getting the majority of London’s 654 electoral wards to back the initiative.
Individuals, groups or organisations can pledge their support by recruiting the support of the councillors of the electoral wards where they live, work and play. For more information, visit the Greater London National Park City website.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea