Playful nominee

BEACONSFIELD outdoor play advocate Griffin Longley has been shortlisted for a “local hero” gong in the state section of the Australian of the year awards.

For years Mr Longley has developed initiatives to get kids off their tablets and into the playground through his organisation Nature Play WA, but says the battle has just begun and society needs to wage a long-term war on obesity.

“We’ve managed to slow the rate of negative change and have had small wins, but the screen-time statistics are not encouraging,” he says.

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“I liken it to the early days of the anti-smoking campaign, when it took time to gain momentum, and eventually social attitudes started to change.

“For me, sitting is the new smoking.”

Mr Longley grew up on Cliff Street in Fremantle’s West End and has spent most of his life living in the port city.

“Freo is one of the better pockets in terms of outdoor play and has the right kind of social attitude to make a real difference,” he says.

“However, I still see lots of empty parks and the blue glow of screens inside houses.

“We need to keep encouraging our kids to be active and play outside.”

Apart from Nature Play, Mr Longley helped at-risk youths get off the street and on to the basketball court through the Night Hoops project.

Winners will be announced on November 20.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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