Practical Bravery: DAN RAVEN-ELLISON



In this episode of The Possibility Club, looking at practical bravery, we will explore the role of our natural and urban environment in our lives, the need to walk and how cities could be considered as national parks.
As the lines between planning, topography and health become blurred – more and more people are taking an interest in the future of offices and housing, air quality and transport, landscapes and land.
The impact of a business is more rooted than ever in its footprint – metaphorical and physical  – and where we’re going and how we’re getting there.
So what if everyone just walked more?
Richard’s guest in this episode is a guerilla geographer, a creative explorer, and author, teacher and entrepreneur, Dan Raven-Ellison.

Key quotes:

“When you’re in a tent and you’re all cosy in your sleeping bag, that sound of rain is one of the best things in the world.”

“Geography exists at all scales at the same time, so whether it’s the guerrilla gardener pulling up a paving slab and making that a bit wilder, or whether it’s thinking about where you want to go on holiday, that’s all geography.”

“Science and history have done a very good job of creating places where people are very aware that they’re recreationally engaging in science or history. Geography, people are playing with that all the time but because of so many boring, dry textbooks, people think that it’s something that it’s not.”

“It’s about creating social infrastructure, so in every route that someone shares, someone is saying hello to people along the way, they’re spending some money maybe in a local post office, they’re improving their own health, their own wellbeing, creating connections to nature, to heritage, they’re creating culture. So it’s this infrastructure really for joy, health, hope, climate, saving people money. So, yes, it’s a project about walking, but it’s about all these things that walking can do for us as well.”

“Although it’s this idea that’s really a couple of million years old, it’s been made possible because of our ability to use fantastic technology and big data and collaboration across that infrastructure.”

“We should have far more rights, to far more places.”

“It’s important to remember that there are some parts of the world, like swathes of North America, where access is even more limited and if you were to stray onto private land you run the risk of extreme violence.”

“What Scotland desperately needs is a far better path network.”

“When you look at the family of National Parks around the world, there are National Parks in everything from glaciers and deserts to moorlands and rain forests, everything you can imagine in terms of habitats, apart from one, which is urban areas.”

“London is home to 15,000 species of wildlife, making it one of the most species-rich regions of the UK. London has more breeding pairs peregrine falcon in London than in Yosemite National Park or the Peak District National Park.”

This episode was recorded in April 2023

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


Never miss another Possibility Club podcast

Access 150+ podcasts featuring a diverse range of innovators, change-makers, leaders and disruptors from across the worlds of business, culture, politics, science and education.

Norman Cook | Andy Burnham | Lemn Sissay | Charlotte Church | Michael Rosen | Jimi Famurewa | Matthew Taylor | Stella Creasy | Tim Harford