“I think when living in a city you often forget that there’s more to life than just human life.”
My name is Magnus. I’m 25 years old and from Odense, Denmark. I’m studying urban environmental and energy planning.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in a nice and lovely family. My home was in a cul-de-sac and there were lots of other kids. I had a pretty easy childhood.
Can you describe your past relation to nature?
Growing up, I didn’t really have a relation to nature. It wasn’t something I really thought about because I grew up in the middle of a city. But as I grew older, I started to enjoy and think about the nature we have around our cities and I started to explore it.
What is city planning to you now that you have been studying it?
Well, it actually shows that humans find it almost necessary to have some sort of nature close by, or even incorporated into the city, where they can have recreational moments and experience something other than concrete buildings and roads for cars.
I think that nature gives humans a way to get away from everyday hustle, and an opportunity to take five seconds, or maybe an hour, for themselves to not have to think about their everyday lives.
This weekend I was together with my nephew, and he was kind of depressed. He said, “You know, I just found out how important it is to listen to the birds because everything is digital in my world. When I listen to the birds, I get happy”.
And for me it was a sign that humans really need nature to be balanced.
Could you elaborate on how nature is important to you, as a city person?
Living in a city, you often forget that there’s more to life than just human life. There are also trees and plants, which is life. There are different animals you can experience, like birds singing or a fox running around or a squirrel in a forest.
For me, it’s just a different experience of life going into nature compared to living in a city. You interact with many different people in a city and that’s exciting. But sometimes you also need experiences in life that aren’t with humans.
What do you dream of?
I dream of living a life that’s simple, and I especially dream of doing something meaningful with my life. And that could be a simple life where I don’t worry about too much and also have the time to do what I want to do, where I don’t have to be stressed out about work. I don’t want to achieve a high salary by working a hard job. I just want to have a job that I think is meaningful.
What do you fear the most?
I fear that at one point the planet will not be capable of sustaining life anymore. I think human beings are the smartest animals on the planet and we’re going to survive the longest, but I fear that at some point we won’t be able to deal with what we turned our planet into.
What can we do to make this a better planet?
We should consider all of our actions, and consider how our actions will affect future generations. That could be done by voting for a specific party. That could be done by choosing how you get yourself from A to B, or by choosing what you eat. It could be pretty much anything. It comes down to all sorts of specific things in our everyday life.
But I think if you consider what you do and how this is going to affect the planet and the people living on the planet in 10 or 20 years, then I think it would make this a better place.
Do you have any special memories that have shaped you?
A couple of years ago I lived for a year in Canada at a ski resort, a new one. It was very clear that it was a resort that was just put into a wild habitat in nature. Everyone living there were aware of this, and really tried to have as little impact as possible to the natural life surrounding the resort.
I think that shaped me, or at least made me realize that every city is actually just human beings building something within nature.