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UK in 100 seconds short film asks: can we make space for nature?

news release

• New poll reveals 4 out of 5 people over-estimate how much of the UK is built on • Nearly 1 in 3 think that over 50% of the country is built on, when reality is less than 7% • Over 90% of the population also underestimate number of under-threat species

With 4 out of 5 members of the British public over-estimating how built-up the UK is, and 90% underestimating how many species of birds, animals, plants and fish are under-threat, it’s clear that the average Brit doesn’t have a good picture of the country we live in or the serious decline in UK nature.

UK in 100 seconds, which premiered yesterday (24 September) at The Prince Charles cinema in London, is a thought provocation on how we use the space in our country.

Voiced by poet Benjamin Zephania, and made by guerrilla geographer, Daniel Raven-Ellison, and filmmaker, Jack Smith, in collaboration with Friends of the Earth, the film asks the question: can we make more space for nature?

Each second of the film equates to 1% of what the country looks like from the air. Most people don’t realise that less than 7% of the UK is built upon and over 40% of our land is used for feeding and rearing livestock. With over half of UK wild species in decline and 1 in 10 at risk of extinction, what would happen if we reimagined how we use the UK? Could we make more space for nature?

View the full film The UK in 100 seconds

Speaking about why he made the film, guerrilla geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison, said:

“Despite having travelled the UK extensively, I realised that I didn’t really know what the UK looks like. The country is just too big and complicated to get a proper sense of proportion.

“When so many people are saying that there is no space in the country, I wanted to show what it looks like so that we can have a better-informed discussion about our country’s future.”

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth Chief Executive, said:

“It’s clear that people don’t realise just how much UK wildlife is under-threat, yet 1 in 10 British species are at risk of extinction. Our natural environment is about more than scenic landscapes – it is crucial for our food, health and well-being.

“We hope this film will make spark a debate on how we can make more space for nature everywhere; including our homes, workplaces, farms, towns, cities and countryside.”

Interview opportunities with Daniel Raven-Ellison and Friends of the Earth chief executive, Craig Bennett are available. The film is available to air for free.

Friends of the Earth is campaigning to make more space for nature everywhere for the benefit of people and wildlife. This means bringing nature to life in towns, cities and where we live, learn and work, not just consigning it to special reserves.


Editor’s notes:

1.Survey conducted by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2067 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 20th September 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2.Statistics on the land cover of the UK are taken from: Corine land cover raster, 2012.

3.“Between 1970 and 2013, 56% of species declined, with 40% showing strong or moderate declines. Between 2002 and 2013, 53% of species declined and 47% increased.” State of Nature report (2016) p6

4.“Of more than 6,000 species that have been assessed using modern Red List criteria, more than one in ten are thought to be under threat of extinction in the UK.” State of Nature report (2013) p6.


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