modern adventures

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I feel like its common sense: if you have a bad experience with nature as a child, you’re probably not going to be an environmentalist, or even have a strong ideology with nature. It’s like if you have bad sushi one night, it’s unlikely that you’re going to revisit that restaurant and order the same thing. The book talks about how psychologists know that children’s experiences with nature have great and crucial effects on their physical and emotional development, but how can this effect be positive when the growing society is becoming less and less environmentally centered?

Richard Louv calls the limited connections to the environment in present society “nature-deficit disorder”.  Childhood today is much more structured with school, sports and activities and this leaves little time for children to simply go explore—no matter how big or small the adventure, it’s not a normal thing in society to just go roam and explore. Not only has the environmental norm for children changes in the past few decades but childhood experiences with nature are becoming indirect and felt through pixels rather than cells. Children 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours a week, that’s nearly 4.7 hours a day watching tv when they could be exploring or making positive connections with the environment that they live in.

Connections are now vicarious rather than direct. Children are learning about animals and such through zoos and aquariums, and personally I think that’s better than nothing. The exposure to wild animals through zoos is better than nothing. While the issue of humane treatment of animals, etc. comes into play, as a child it’s not something that you’re concerned about.  When I was a child I rarely had vicarious experiences with nature, they were mostly direct. My father would take me fishing, my grandpa had a horse, my mom enjoyed hiking, I was a Girl Scout and I thoroughly enjoyed getting my hands dirty and working in the garden. My younger sister, age 9, has had a very different experience with nature. While she enjoys playing outside, that consists of riding hoverboards down the street and catching pokemon. These things get kids outside, but the connection with nature is lacking and its incredible to see how fast society is progressing and how nature is taking a back-burner to technology and media.

My sister and I are only 9 years apart but it may as well be a different era because she does not connect with nature the way that I do, and it’s not her fault—its no one’s fault. It’s just the way society continues to shape our lives and warp what is and isn’t important.

 

https://naturalearning.org/sites/default/files/Benefits%20of%20Connecting%20Children%20with%20Nature_InfoSheet.pdf

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm

 

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3 thoughts on “modern adventures

  1. This was a very insightful post, and it is crazy to see the difference in connecting with the outdoors between your childhood and that of your sister’s. It does seem like our generation was given so much more outdoor time then people today, but it also seems like that is a parent’s choice. The activities you listed, fishing, horseback riding, etc. are still things present in today’s society, the issue just seems to come from not taking advantage of those items, which many parents choose not to do because placing kids in front of a screen is so much easier, and the effects are not immediate.

    ~Asha Brogan

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  2. This post is really interesting to say the least. I believe that the reason for the huge difference between you and your sister may be because society and how it has changed as a whole. Only about a decade ago did we create the smart phone and before that flip phones in the late 90s. It is definitely important for a family to help kids to experience nature in the way you experienced it, but alas the society we live in today and the social environment your sister is probably in at school would make it hard to do.

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  3. This is definitely an interesting post. I’ve never connected the reason for the lack of a relationship to nature in my younger sibling to possibly be incorporated by the intake of media that he is using. Back when I was a child, I was also a part of the Boy Scouts and would go camping at least once a month. Nature has always been engaging, and I’ve always had a special relationship with the outdoors. But, my 15 year old brother doesn’t share that same connection. He also receives has nature fix by catching pokemon or riding a penny board. So I agree, that initial encounter with nature at a young age really leaves a mark on people as they grow older.

    Andrew Ebding

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