Friday, May 23, 2008

Children and Nature

I think everyone will agree that in the last two decades television, computers, and video games have replaced outdoor play as the primary recreation for a majority of children in the developed nations. If children are not reconnected to nature and encouraged to establish a bond with their environment, then the future of our planet is indeed in jeopardy.

Their are a number of organizations that are dedicated to educating children about environmental issues. But education alone is not enough. Children must feel empowered to make positive changes in their environment. By allowing them to devise solutions to the problems, and engaging them in the planning and execution of those solutions, we empower them to become more involved in the preservation of the planet.

Parents, teachers, adult family members can all contribute to this process. There are a number of things they can do:

1. Walk in nature with children. Find hiking trails, walk in a park or other greenspace.
2. Plant a children's garden. Take a small plot of ground and help them plant flowers, or vegetables. Show them how to care for the plants and then watch what happens.
3. Watch nature documentaries together. Let the time in front of the television be meaningful.
4. Create outdoor learning games. Teach them how to observe their environment.

It is unfortunate that the burden of solving these issues - created by past generations - falls to our children and their descendants. Ultimately, our success in educating and empowering children will affect the future of our world.

Until next time....become the change you imagine.