Nature Deficit and the Anthropocene

I look forward to participating in the discussion next week about our relationship to nature – particularly but by no means exclusively the relationship of our children to the outdoors.

There are both long-term and short-term costs to be paid as the lives of our kids become farther removed from outdoor experience and understanding and care for nature:

The short-term impacts include a startling increase in childhood obesity, complications related to attention deficit disorder, and the general lack of social engagement by children totally absorbed in screen related distractions.

The long-term consequences are that a childhood indifference to and ignorance of the natural world that is accessible and immediately at hand can result in an adult attitude later on that nature has no bearing on their lives in any real sense.

If we don’t know nature outside as children, we may see ourselves as outside nature as adults.

We already see signs of this general apathy to entire plant and animal groups (amphibians, freshwater fishes, song birds) and habitats around the world–tropical rain forest, coral reefs, and forests over quick frackable wealth.

But there are signs of hope that this kind of attitude is changing, and that is chiefly what I hope to bring to the discussion on November 13.

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