Playtimes April 2014 - page 43

Though whilst the surveys show
that the great majority would like to
see the living planet protected, few are
prepared to take action. The young
generation we might have expected
to lead the defence of nature have less
and less to do with it.
Whilst we don’t have to decry
the indoor world, which has its own
rich tapestry and learnings from
therein, we cannot lose children’s
natural connection to the outdoor
world. There is no substitute for
what takes place outdoors, not least
because the greatest joys of nature are
unscripted. The thought that most of
our children will never sleep under the
stars at night, will never be amazed
by a dolphin breaching, by a butterfly
emerging from its chrysalis, by the
intricacies of a termites’ nest, by the
call of an owl, is almost as sad as the
thought that their children might not
even have the opportunity.
If you’d like to make a change,
it can start simply with helping your
own kids walk to school with stick
insects on their heads!
depends less on physical dominance
and more on inventiveness and
language skills. Perhaps forcing
children to study so much, rather
than running wild in the woods and
fields, is counter-productive.
But most importantly, those who
fight for nature as adults are people
who spent their childhoods immersed
in it. Without empathy for the pattern
and feeling of the natural world,
without an intensity of engagement
almost impossible in the absence
of early experience, people will not
devote their lives to its protection.
Children and their natural world
should be brought back together again
if we are to love and protect the little
that remains. And if this cannot be
changed, we will strip the living planet
of the wonder and delight, of the utter
exhilaration, that has drawn children
into the wilds.
April 2014
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