Ruud Kleinpaste wants to ‘‘create nature-literate New Zealanders’’.

The television presenter, also known as the Bug Man, was the special guest at the Gore Garden Club’s annual harvest show last week.

He spoke to more than 700 preschoolers and primary school children and gave a public talk on Friday night.

Speaking to groups of people was one way he could help people become nature-literate or reconnect with the environment, Mr Kleinpaste said.

‘‘They need to rediscover the operations manual for planet Earth.

‘‘We have totally lost our connections with nature.’’

He likened people’s behaviour in nature to ‘‘toddlers playing with matches’’.

The world population had recently hit eight billion, which was causing problems.

‘‘We have far too many demands on our environment.

‘‘All we are interested in is making money.’’

He had a low opinion of economists.

‘‘Growth at all costs is not an option.

‘‘I can see humanity going down the gurgler.’’

Learning about insects . . . Pukerau School pupils enjoy listening to Ruud Kleinpaste talk about insects on Friday at the Gore Garden Club’s Harvest Show. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Many companies claimed to act sustainably but he did not like the word.

‘‘The language is marketing — it’s lies.’’

Sustainable meant conserving what was already here, but people needed to be far more positive than that, Mr Kleinpaste said.

‘‘There is nothing left to conserve.

‘‘We want to restore, rehabilitate, regenerate, rewild, respect.’’

While many people did not like insects, he wondered how insects viewed human beings.

‘‘Are we a welcome species among all the others?

‘‘The answer of course is no, but we are changing that by creating nature-literate kids.’’

The fastest way to create nature-literate children was to train their teachers and he was available to do that, he said.

‘‘I’m not retiring but taking teachers outside.’’

Ministry of Education funding was available for him to hold workshops with teachers.