Ray Mears tells Graham Hardley how learning survival skills can help us rediscover nature.
Armed with little more than a hunting knife and a cooking pot Ray Mears can survive anywhere. He loves nothing more than spending days, weeks or even months alone in the wild, and he will talk passionately about any aspect of the natural world, from his favourite trees to endangered species of animals. (0 – I) Those who sign up for the courses range from children to grandparents, with a large number of twenty to thirty-year-olds looking for a taste of adventure.
“People might see it as survival skills,” he says, “but I aim to teach a little more than that. (1)Some who have participated on the course have experienced a very profound change in their life. They develop a greater awareness of nature. They return to the cities and notice the seasons change for the first time. (2) The city and their life in it are transformed.”
The Woodlore courses take participants to experience tribal life with the native people of Namibia, or to shiver through an Arctic survival course in Lapland. (3) These are the places to fulfil the schoolboy dream of lighting fires with just a couple of sticks.
(4) “There are lots of simple survival tips, like it’s often better to avoid anything which is green. More energy is used up eating it than you get out of it. Roots are best because you need carbohydrates.”
There is a very serious purpose to what Mears does. “All around the world cultures are losing ancient skills as the latest generation is attracted away from the land to an easy life through technology,” he explains. “We live in a world where we can have whatever we want, but along the way we have lost contact with the natural world. (5) Without them, there’s a danger we could lose sight of where we’ve come from.”
“The area around London is particularly threatened. (6) People need places where they can get close to nature.”
But Mears is not against the latest technological developments and is well aware of the benefits. (7) “In this way people can become part of a global tribe, one which lives both for and from the natural world”.
► A) Mears even takes groups to visit a highly-protected reserve in Canada to watch bear cubs being born and raised.
B)He has just hired an Internet consultancy firm to design a website which will give people all over the globe access to his knowledge.
C) I try to show people how to reconnect with nature, how to see it in a different light.
D) This experience, and others like it, led Mears to write The Survival Handbook, which was published in 1989.
E) The ancient woodlands should be left alone, and areas not needed for agriculture should be planted with trees and allowed to grow wild.
F) They see the geese, the pigeons, the edible plants growing between the cracks in the pavement.
G) These ancient skills help to put us back in touch with nature, and to understand our place in the world.
H) He also teaches how to identify edible plants for food.
I) His passions are reflected in Woodlore, a series of courses in which he passes on survival techniques to people of all ages.
19. Read the text Ecotourism in Russia: Perspective Regions, Resources, Achievements of International Projects, Possibilities for Cooperation and make the review of it.