Two years ago, Jack Smith and I made a short film called The UK in 100 Seconds. Made in collaboration with Friends of the Earth and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, the purpose of the film was to show how we’re using land in the UK.
The idea was simple. To go on a 100 metre walk to make a 100 second film with each second representing 1% of what the UK looks like from above.
With your help we now want to create UK National Parks in 100 Seconds.
In the UK we have 15 beautiful, distinctive and important National Parks. From the New Forest to the Cairngorms and Pembrokeshire to the Broads, our National Parks include a diverse range of landscapes, habitats and uses. The overall picture is complex, hard to imagine and difficult to get a proper sense of proportion.
When they are all added together… how much of our National Parks are covered in woodlands, crops, pastures, quarries or urban areas?
UK National Parks in 100 Seconds will give us a first look that’s not just a sterile data set or graph, but moving images that people can relate to.
The film will be both beautiful and challenging. It will help us to better imagine what our National Parks look like and what they could be like in the future.
According to the United Nations, 1 million of the world’s 8 million species are at risk of extinction. Research by the WWF has found that the population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians have experienced a decline of an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. Here in the UK, work by the Mammal Society has revealed that 1 in 4 native mammals are now at risk of extinction in Britain.
In addition, The Committee on Climate Change, an independent, statutory body established to advise UK and devolved governments has said that “the UK’s net-zero target will not be met without changes in how we use our land”.
I am a geographer and I make these films to challenge myself and others to think differently about how we are using land. I am driven by the knowledge that we can make much more space for nature and I want more of us to see that.
My role is developing, directing, producing and sharing the films. I get the pleasure of being the walker in them too.
The project is brought to life by Jack Smith who is our highly talented Director of Photography and drone operator. I write the scripts in collaboration with Rob Bushby and the voice over artist. We then work with a team that includes a geographic information specialist, sound editor, voice over artist, video colourist and video editor. The whole project is managed through Topolocus, my geography innovation business.
We will be making a single film to represent all of the UK’s National Parks combined into one. This will mean travelling to a diverse range of National Parks, but we will not visit them all. We will likely keep the National Parks we do visit anonymous.
We will likely use Copernicus CORINE Land Cover Data to inform the kinds of land we film and in what proportions. Copernicus is a European system for monitoring the Earth. Data is collected by different sources, including Earth observation satellites. This is the same dataset that we used for the UK and Netherlands films.
This will mean us working to film:
- Natural grassland
- Peat bogs
- Coniferous forest
- Broadleaf forest
- Mixed forest
- Woodland shrub
- Arable land
- Sparse vegetation
- Water bodies
- Intertidal flats
- And more..
The number of classifications of land we film will depend on how well the project is funded, weather conditions and any travel restrictions.
After filming in all of the locations the footage is edited to accurately reflect the data in its correct proportions.
This is a rapid crowdfunding campaign that will only be open for two weeks. National conditions allowing, we plan to shoot the film this autumn while there is so much colour on the trees. If the Government introduces restrictions that prevent filming or if the weather is continually bad, we will move the filming to spring 2021.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read about our UK National Parks in 100 Seconds project. Please do support us in delivering it if you can.