Forest 404

Forest 404

There is perhaps an excess of content about the benefits of nature, rehashing old studies as new revelations. I think we were all instinctively aware of the benefits, the Vitamin N(ature) of our childhood that is ominously missing from our adulthood.

With their new podcast, the BBC have placed this obsession with nature, and our distance from it, in a dystopian future where nature no longer exists. 404 is the error you get when you try to reach a web address that doesn’t exist. In this imagined future, it’s not even possible to find out about nature.

The idea of setting a story in a fearful future is not new, but each episode of the story is accompanied by a soundscape and a talk with an expert.

The soundscapes are breathtaking. Even while we sit here with various flavours of nature, and nature-like environments, the soundscapes still seem otherworldly. A chorus of frogs and discussion of whales are provoking but my favourite so far is the first soundscape, of the Sumatran jungle. There is a specific bird, the whistling thrush, that whistles in western musical scale, slowly, methodically, as if practicing for her grade 3 exam. This is set to the busy hubbub of jungle life with all forms of creature getting on with their daily lives. The effect is mesmerising. But don’t try and listen to it on a busy Tube or bus. Take the five minutes or so to actually listen, without multitasking. Take a seat (or squat), close your eyes and really listen. I bet your heart rate will slow, and your mind will relax.

The third part to each week’s release is the educational bit. It is brief, to the point, and fascinating. We have talked about nature benefits, circadian rhythms and I am sure there will be more bite-sized science to come.

Please take the time to download and give it a go.