Nature Roars Back

Our generation lives in the here and now. So, reaching people means we need to connect the here and now to issues that at a glance seem long-term or ineffectual on a local level. These sentiments echo the words of US President Barack Obama in an interview for the docuseries Years of Living Dangerously.

This is also a paramount goal for National Geographic, who believe in cross-platform education which inspires the most curious minds with an expanding canvas to grow and reach people in new ways. NG Live is the on ground extension supporting the societies 128-year legacy, upholding innovation and visual story-telling as the foremost touchpoint for people to connect with the challenges facing our planet.

Best known for his award-winning wildlife documentaries, Bob Poole is in Australia this week to present the NG Live event Nature Roars Back. Offering audiences the opportunity to explore Bob’s Africa, a place where nature is resilient and people play a vital part in that resurgence. Conversation is part of what makes the Live event such a powerful tool for conservation—it speaks to the curiosity of children, the concerns of parents, the interest of entrepreneurs, the inspiration of artists.

Bob’s penetrating insights and captivating enthusiasm draw out people’s natural curiosity, encouraging them to seek and see natures destiny as unwritten, full of potential, wonder and intertwined in our own story.

Tourism, Bob says is a crucial element of re-wilding Africa—“Getting people to visit” that is the inspiration Bob wants audiences to leave with. He knows that for people to care they first need to connect—to see what’s working, how their support impacts nature and be inspired by that change.

Nature Roars Back is full of intrepid inspiration…

Hear daring tales of elephant rescue and the rebuilding of trust between man and animals devastated by war, as Bob and a team of scientists battle to re-wild Africa’s lost Eden: Gorongosa.

In one of the world’s most ambitious conservation projects, he’ll share the secrets of the “Gorongosa code”— and a man’s brave journey of discovery and redemption filming the spectacular wildlife of a paradise once lost.

Join the acclaimed cinematographer and filmmaker, live on stage, for unforgettable images and stories of Gorongosa’s majestic animals—and learn how the wild places we’ve broken can be put back together.

From screen to stage the amazing encounters, heartfelt accounts and thrilling adventures of Emmy-winning filmmaker Bob Poole, literally come to life in this unique look at the rebirth of Africa’s last wilderness.

Want to know the coolest custom-bits of the Bob Mobile?

Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Bob in the next issue of Bare Essentials.

Melbourne • Arts Centre Melbourne • Wednesday 10 August
Sydney • Sydney Opera House • Friday 19 August
Perth • State Theatre Centre of WA • Sunday 21 August
Adelaide • Adelaide Festival Centre • Wednesday 24 August


Explore Bob’s World and @bobpoolefilms

Spread the word #BobPooleFilms

Li Bingbing

World Environmental Day makes good news, it is popular with media for several key reasons. As a global event it is relevant to a wide demographic, it has local and global initiatives for specific reference and represents a collective message—one person can make a difference and everyone should try. Established in 1974, World Environmental Day (WED) has evolved into a collective and cultural movement augmented by resources and inspiration (including celebrity endorsement) on a vital issue effecting us all—how to save the earth and preserve its beautiful diversity.

As a nature news broadcaster the event helps us amplify the stories and projects we seek to provide platform for. However, at Bare Essentials it is not enough to simply communicate a message—we want the value and engagement to resonate beyond the moment (WED, June 6th).

To achieve lasting impact we place emphasis on visual cues and compounding actions, to generate momentum from the enthusiasm of the moment—the message we connect with when we feel part of a movement like WED.

WED Ambassador, Li Bingbing knows how to capitalise on incredible moments. Her passion for wildlife embraces a deeper impetus which, continues to inform and inspire her once the moment has past.

As one of China’s most popular actresses, Li is well known for her achievements both on and off the screen. Throughout her life, she has been involved in charitable efforts where she can “practice what she preaches” and promote the need to lead a responsible life. Although Li’s philanthropic efforts have included various causes, activities and beneficiaries over the years, she has focused on carbon emissions reduction and environmental protection. In 2015, she traveled to Kenya to raise awareness in China about elephant poaching for ivory. She also pledged on World Environment Day to discourage her peers and fans not to buy any products that contribute to the illegal trade in wildlife.

Li’s message is one that pervades through practise, and encompasses her lifestyle. It honours fleeting moments by carrying the value forward through little changes and constant reflection.

“I am a woman of action, I do what I say. I light the light in me to let you see your own light. I don’t shy from risk or controversy and push the limit to prove there is a different, more daring, and authentic way to be who we really are—to live a magic life. I travel the world to bring awareness for the protection of our precious animals, to bring kindness and love to our children. When we protect and give love to them, we are protecting nature’s love and beauty, humanity and harmony.”

We’d like to thank Li for providing this beautiful message. And in the spirit in which it speaks, we hope our readers will print the quote and keep it close. Let Li’s message be a visual cue you reflect then act upon to make the moment last!

Learn about WED and their continued efforts in conservation:

Not YourAverage Mom

This Sunday, when many moms are having a well deserved sleep-in, or breakfast in bed, Heather Hawkins will be trekking in the Himalayas, thousands of metres above sea level on stage four of the World Expeditions GHT with her son Callum, daughter Rebekah (Bek) and Bek’s boyfriend Matt.

It’s not your average Mother’s Day. But then Heather, like the new breed of bold women, is not average—this mom climbs mountains!

A descriptor for her might read: Heather Hawkins, a 50 year old mom, marathon runner and cancer survivor. But there is much more to her character and abilities. Athlete, adventurer, ambassador, might encapsulate a more accurate portrait.

In tribute to all boundary breaking moms, I offer her inspiring itinerary…

In January this year, Heather successfully competed in the ‘Seven marathons in Seven days on Seven continents’ Challenge, raising $13K for cancer research along the way.

And last year she was the first female across the line in the North Pole Marathon Challenge—competing in minus 41 degree Celsius temperatures.

Heather is undertaking the World Expeditions GHT Trek to raise money for the Australian Himalayan Foundation to rebuild Nepal after last year’s devastating earthquakes.

Follow Heather in the Field:

And don’t miss Heather’s article in Bare Essentials, her path is positively empowering!

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There are many meaningful ways to reflect on the importance and beauty of earth—perhaps none more poignant and simple than the Japanese art of Shinrin-yoku.

It is easy to go days, months, and—dare I say it—years, without physically connecting with the raw power and serenity of nature. Even today, as we celebrate ‘Earth’—many of us do so surrounded by walls with perhaps a view of something green.

Whatever your plans, demands or other obligations we all need nature to inspire our spirits and restore our instincts. One of the simplest ways I know to do this, is to emerge yourself amongst the trees, breath the air of open winds and wooded scents, touch the earth and feel it’s energy, awaken your soul and celebrate life.

City folk stroll to the closet park, urban dwellers retreat to your gardens, everyone everywhere if you can find a forest to bathe in…


Allow me to introduce a friend of ours, a fascinating guy with a passion for fitness and a fondness for forests.

David Boycott-Brown is the Director of Elite Athletes, a sports performance company supporting international, world-class and Olympic-level athletes. Previously he was Head of Strength and Conditioning for GB Water Polo at the London Olympics 2012. Additional experience includes working with MMA fighters competing in the UFC and professional cyclists at the World Cycling Centre.

So how doe’s David celebrate Earth Day?

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese word which can be translated as “forest bathing” or taking a leisurely trip to the forest. This is done to wash away the stresses of daily life, reconnect with nature and boost health. Many scientific studies have been conducted to investigate the benefits of “shinrin-yoku” with prime areas of research including cognitive function, stress reduction and general wellbeing from both a mental and physical perspective.

It is intuitive for a lot of people to get outside in nature and participate in physical activity, whether it be walking, running, riding or some other favourite pursuit. Many feel the call of the great outdoors and find it more appealing than training in gyms or breathing hard in polluted areas. However many studies from a western scientific perspective are now investigating the ancient knowledge held within many traditional cultures such as “shinrin-yoku”.

The benefits of exercise on health, strength and happiness are well documented and range from improved immune function, a stronger musculoskeletal system and positive mood states. The principle of “shinrin-yoku” may suggest that the combination of physical exercise within a natural setting, such as a wooded area, may provide even greater rewards.

The benefits on the Mind are difficult to discuss with relation to western scientific literature due to debate regarding what the mind actually is. The mind is related to difficult areas such as memory and consciousness. Fields such as neuroscience and psychology struggle to explain and when added to the attempts of religion and philosophy, the area of debate can deter people. Topics such as mental health, mood and cognitive function are generally easier for many rational minded scientific individuals, all of which can addressed in relation to “shinrin-yoku”.

Dr. N. Wells is an environmental psychologist who studies the effects of the environment on health and behaviour. She has written a number of studies which detail the improvement in cognitive functioning in children who have access to natural or rural environments when compared to their urban dwelling counterparts. Helping to preserve or improve the function of the brain in children is one way to ensure the “childrens fire” continues to burn bright. If you don’t live in a rural setting this is not a problem as a weekly or monthly visit can provide a significant boost.

There is obviously a strong connection between the body and the mind with a complex feedback loop between the psychology and the physiology and both areas affecting the other. From a physical perspective there is again much documentation which details the positive affect on mood states following increased secretions of “positive” hormones, stimulated by physical activity.

Dr. M. Yamaguchi has written many books and journal articles which detail the reduction in stress hormones when exercising in forest environments compared to urban settings. As exercise creates a physical stress on the body (this is a “good” stress as the body can make beneficial adaptations to this stress), further stressors from the environment are undesirable. The fact that environmental stress upon the body can be reduced by exercising in the forest means the body can focus more closely on the “good” stress that can gained from the exercise rather than fighting the negative aspects of pollution.

The positive affects on the soul are harder to study, put down in words or quantify in any way. The positive effects “shinrin-yoku” have on the soul need to be experienced first hand. If you take anything from this article, go out into nature, take a bath in a forest, breathe in the pristine air and even engage in some physical exercise if you feel inclined.

Wild plants, seagreens, heirloom harvests, medicinal herbs and other purely botanical sources of nutrition offer a diverse source of earth grown energy.

No Meat May

The untapped potential of plants is powering athletes and inspiring a new ‘meat-free’ movement, says reformed meat head and No Meat May founder, Ryan Alexander.

By feasting on only fresh, ripe, organic fruits and vegetables (alkaline foods) and eliminating all acid-forming food from their diet (animal proteins), athletes Alan Murray and Janette Murray-Wakelin attained a new level of optimum health, improving their physical fitness, and increasing their performance levels.

Their new plant-based diet fuelled their 2013 world record together running close to 16,000km around Australia. To break that down into a more digestible sentence for runners, that’s each running 366 marathons (43 km) in 366 days, with a sum total of zero days off! 

Yep, plant power is pretty remarkable. Not only providing us with an abundance of nutritional firepower to break world records, but the diverse world of plants is also vital for medicine with about 70% of the world’s population reliant on traditional plant remedies for medical treatment.

Indigenous Australians have a long history of cultivating plants for many medicinal purposes as well as for nourishment. Different regions having different plant staples, including yams, bush tomatoes, figs and quandong fruits. Corms of bush onion, wild orange truffles, green plumbs, gall nuts of the mulga apple or bloodwood apple and the seeds from some grasses are other native Australian bush foods that are very rich in vitamins and minerals, butt unfortunately we can not buy these at Woolworths.

Not understanding the medicinal and nutritional value of native Australian plants, British colonists instead chose to introduce their own foreign plants for commercial production in Australia. This same approach has been used around the globe for centuries, and sadly it’s led to the loss of much botanical knowledge and plant varieties.

However more recently, some exciting agricultural projects have achieved great success in commercialising native plants. This more sustainable approach to farming could be a part of the solution to feeding our world in the future.
All up, botanists from around the globe have identified almost two million distinct plant varieties, with samples of these identified seeds kept by governments and private enterprises in more than 1,400 seed banks. (Picture underground vaults built into remote mountain ranges as a kind of insurance policy against a zombie apocalypse, or the almost certain impact of climate change).

Only 30,000 species of identified plants are edible. Still, that’s probably a good 29,950 more varieties than most of us eat each year.

One way to increase your exposure to the dazzling abundance of the plant world is to sign up for the No Meat May challenge and give up meat for a month. It’s a simple yet powerful way to try out the many benefits of a plant-based diet, both for your health and the world.

There are four big, and incredibly compelling reasons to register for No Meat May. You’ll improve your health, do some good for our planet, make a stand against factory farming, and learn about the impact of our food choices on developing countries.

With more and more research showing shifts towards a more plant-based diet reducing your risk of diabetes, heart-disease, certain cancers, obesity and weight gain, the month of May is a great opportunity to break some habits and make some long term adjustments to your diet.

Introducing more plants could not only improve your workout recovery time but also up your odds of being able to walk to the post office to collect your letter from the queen, with her likely unrestricted access to the British seed vault possibly the reason she’s not going anywhere fast.

Along with athletes such as Alan and Janette, you’ll also be part of the plant-based health revolution that is happening all around the world.

Animal agriculture is a massive contributor if not the leading cause of climate change, and Australia has one of the highest rates of meat consumption in the world. Without doubt, an unsustainable rate. Each of us has a crucial role to play in addressing the massive risks faced by our planet. No Meat May is an opportunity to turn real climate concerns into positive action and reduce your contribution of greenhouse gasses.

People often talk about having a personal choice, but how great would it be if your personal choice became the ethical choice. No Meat May empowers you to make the best choices for yourself, your family, all animals and our planet. It’s a time to make a clear stance against the incredible violence and abuse we see in factory farming, and to raise awareness of the inequitable distribution of food around the globe that contributes to millions of children dying of starvation each year.

You may not come through your No Meat May experience a certified veg head, but eating half as much meat seems like such a no brainer when you look at the many devastating effects of our current over-consumption. Bring with you your own unique sense of adventure, explore exciting new ingredients and discover new favourite restaurants.

No Meat May encourages supporters and participants to take a selfie with a fruit or vegetable and hashtag #vegelfie and #nomeatmay to social media, and to connect with the global No Meat May community online. Challenge some friends to post a #vegelfie and increase awareness.

On average, everyone who takes part saves 17 grateful animals by saying no to 16 Lbs of meat. And each prevents 134 Lbs of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. That in itself is an achievement worth celebrating and a step towards a healthier, kinder, and greener future.

Even if you don’t put on your running shoes and run a marathon a day during May, you’ll almost certainly feel the benefits of greater plant power and a shift in your energy-levels by feasting on the abundance of our plant world.

Sign up officially at and click through the social links to stay connected during May.