Bond is on a mission. To re-connect children with nature
Mason is 10. He looks out on Canary Wharf from his high-rise. He wants to take film-maker David Bond on a tour of his manor, where he takes his dog for a walk to the patch of green that is his meagre playground.
"People moan at us for playing ball games," he says as he heads past the forbidding signs and down the "curly wurly" stairs of his concrete jungle.
And then there it is, a patch of scrub no bigger than a saloon car. They have to sidestep the dog poo because, being the only green around, it is the sole dog toilet too. My dog loves this grass says Mason, who loves it too, although he'd love a proper play area more.
He shows Bond a building site. "There was quite a bit of greenery but they've put buildings on to it and they've taken space from us and it's not fair."
The world to Mason and his contemporaries is hard-edge and hostile and outdoors is a place of fear.
Bond, the driving force of documentary Project Wild Thing is also a Londoner. His children Ivy, five, and Albie, three, have a garden but they too are addicted to the screen.
Brain specialist Professor Susan Greenfield tells him: "Wouldn't it be an irony if the very technology that has freed us from fear and discomfort and pain is depriving us of all the things we treasure and turning us into glassy-eyed zombies?"
Bond says: "I was happiest when I was playing outdoors. My children don't do that. I can't persuade my children to go outside."
Bond's Big Idea is to become the marketing manager for Nature. If the brands can influence children's thinking, then modern techniques should be applied to the oldest of entertainments.
He dresses as a squirrel, places "No Ball" balls in Mason's concrete jungle to play "No Ball games" and hectors shoppers in the Regent Street Apple Store: "Stop buying iPads. You've got enough iPads now."
He comes up with an idea - "the ultimate playground" - and a selling point - the confidence that children gain from climbing a tree or facing a fear.
The film charts the highs and lows of his campaign as he launches apps, wins pledges and market-tests nature on children and finds them initially sceptical but then quickly receptive to the idea once they see the potential.
Bond says: "They do like my product but without branding around it, they get it or choose it."
It is perhaps the adults' bubble wrap mindset that presents the greatest obstacle. And that - spoiler alert - is the biggest epiphany of his campaign.
It's the all-pervading, statistically insignificant fear of the paedophile that has helped turn children into prisoners with consequences that include higher rates of depression, ADHD and obesity.
BBC naturalist Chris Packham tells him: "It's not the kids who don't want to put their hands in the mud or jump in the pond or pick up a worm, it's the adults that have said no."
■ The film is showing at Picturehouses at Greenwich, Stratford and Hackney while Bond will host a Q&A at the Roxy Bar And Screen in Borough High Street, all on Sunday (October 27). Screenings at 3.30pm, Q&A at 7.30pm.
Go to projectwildthing.com for film information and ways to get involved.
CHILDHOOD IN CRISIS
■ Children are so divorced from the world outdoors that their lack of understanding poses a threat to nature.
■ A three-year research project undertaken by RSPB found three-quarters of London children suffer this disconnect, suggesting future generations may care less for something for which they have no affinity.
■ RSPB chief executive Dr Mike Clarke said: "For the first time, we have created a baseline that we can use to measure just how connected to nature the UK's children really are.
■ "We can all monitor children's connection and we are recommending the Government and local authorities take action to increase it through policy and practice decisions."
■ Evidence about the impact of an inactive and indoors childhood has grown over the summer with the British Heart Foundation calling for a return to the "outdoors childhood".
■ The RSPB has signed up to The Wild Network, which aims to reverse the trend of children losing touch with nature.