Gina Maffey, BSc, MRes, PhD
I am fascinated by a story that precedes any myth, legend or religious prophecy. One that is very real and goes back millennia, to chart a rich and complex relationship - that of humans and nature. Until very recently, this relationship was one of reciprocal development, but in the last 150 years or so, a systematic breakdown of communication has occurred. It has left us on the brink, a cliffhanger of a chapter in human history, and the challenge now is how to bring nature back to life.
To explore this challenge I co-founded the charity Wildeor, where we take a creative approach to understanding how the natural world can bring value to everyday life and, equally, how humans can have a place in nature today. I currently explore these concepts as a Bioleadership fellow and an ambassador to Sumowala, an organisation creating new nature areas. Many of the ideas I work with were seeded during a year spent living outside; A Wild Year - which was a story born from a need to find a little wildness in my own life. In addition, the year sparked an investigation and an evolving body of work into what it means to rewild a human in a modern context - conveniently captured in the TEDx talk Learning to Rewild.
As a science communicator I have worked extensively with researchers from Astronomy to Zoology to bring stories of our Planet to the fore. Using a multidisciplinary lens to view the world highlights the myriad of opportunities to connect and support both people and nature. It led me to help co-found Astronomers for Planet Earth, a global movement to address the climate crisis, support the growth of the passionate, student led network The Future for Nature Academy and help develop the UK permaculture business Seedball.
I relish stringing words together in a way that brings clarity and understanding, and have written and edited for Nature, the BBC and the European Commission. However, collaboration is where the true richness lies, and the greatest reward comes from the curating or hosting events together with musicians, scientists and creative thinkers.
All of these pursuits are underpinned by a love of stories and a passion for understanding human-nature relationships. It is a passion that has taken me to Brazil, through national parks in South and North America and into the depths of my own back garden.
It is a passion that pushes me to keep searching for wildness in all manner of places, yet regularly pulls me back to sit and share ideas around a campfire.