Nature deficit disorder in the spotlight

A National Trust property sign at Gordale

A National Trust property sign at Gordale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From The Guardian Environment 

Are our children suffering from lack of natural experiences –  and to what extent?

This Friday from 1-2pm, The Guardian is interviewing the outgoing director general of the National Trust, Fiona Reynolds, as well as naturalist and broadcaster, Stephen Moss, to discuss whether today’s generation of children are experiencing ‘nature deficit disorder‘.

Moss authored a report for the Trust recently, that said not enough action is being taken to get children playing in green spaces. It was part of the Trust’s ongoing Outdoor Nation campaign, which recently featured a ‘bucket list of 50 things to do before you’re 12′, and has been hosting a series of guest posts on the subject.

National Trust director general Fiona ReynoldsNational Trust director general Fiona Reynolds on Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian
Here’s Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive of cycling charity Sustrans:

Fear of traffic, fear of strangers and major changes to the places we live mean children are often cooped up indoors or are only allowed to play outside after being driven for miles

And Rob Cowen, ‘outdoor enthusiast‘ and author:

Children aren’t fools; they recognise hypocrisy everywhere. It is no good espousing the benefits of outdoor play if we grown-ups don’t share the same sense of connection with wild space. We must remember that the establishing nature in childhood will only happen if we recognise its importance and take the time to let it grow just as strongly in our own lives.

Stephen MossNaturalist and author Stephen Moss

But is access to natural habitats and wildlife really worse for today’s children than previous generations? Does technology help kids connect with nature – through digital photography, or apps for identifying species – or alienate them from it? And if ‘nature deficit disorder’ is a real problem, what are the solutions?

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