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Outsiders: The Outside is Yours

"A rousing call-to-action, encouraging more and more people of colour to reconnect with the great outdoors."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

In Outsiders: The Outside is Yours, Ollie Olanipekun and Nadeem Perera examine how racialised marginalisation has kept people of colour isolated from nature. They look at why outdoor industries are lacking in diverse racial representation and dispel the heavily internalised myth, within some ethnic communities, that these spaces are only for white people. They candidly address the ways in which people of colour have been coerced by the demands of capitalism to remain in concrete, urbanised parts of Britain, removed from the transformative and healing benefits that nature brings. It’s for this reason that the authors urge readers to get outside and experience the feeling of being lost within nature, letting nothing but your instincts lead you, as you exercise your freedom to explore.

As this book is also part memoir, we read about the authors’ personal childhood experiences, being young Black boys and growing up in environments where exposure to nature was limited or positioned as being something that was not for them. For Ollie, a son of Nigerian immigrant parents, that meant growing up in a white-dominant society in Coventry, having to navigate racial biases on the daily. Nadeem on the other hand, grew up in a Sri Lankan household in the Docklands of East London, a place of ‘barbed-wire fences’ and ‘towering chimneys’, a place decidedly removed from the wide open environs of nature.

Whilst Ollie’s chapters focus on how his professional background in advertising has helped to spearhead the growth of their birdwatching collective, Flock Together, which has since expanded into a global nature movement, Nadeem’s chapters are a lot more thought-probing. They draw inspiring lessons from nature and different cultures, such as the way Sri Lankan people coexist with their local wildlife, to explain how we can better preserve our environment in the West.

Outsiders reads like a friendly, casual conversation, but it is a rousing call-to-action, encouraging more and more people of colour to reconnect with the great outdoors.

Lois Cudjoe

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