As a mother of two young children, I believe in exposing them to a variety of outdoor experiences to help them learn about the world. We take trips to various local farms where the kids have picked fruits and vegetables, we’ve been swimming in rivers and lakes, we’ve been hiking in the mountains, and my daughter has even planted trees in a marsh. I can’t claim I do all of these things just to enrich their lives, it’s also because it’s fun for me! We live in Colorado and are fortunate to have many wonderful ways of connecting with nature if we choose to do so, but I know many others are not as lucky.
On Salon.com, Sarah Karnasiewicz interviewed author Richard Louv about his book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.” Louv believes “in the last 30 years, children of the digital age have become increasingly alienated from the natural world, with disastrous implications, not only for their physical fitness, but also for their long-term mental and spiritual heath.” According to Louv, this is a societal disorder. Our lives, including the lives of our children, are often over-scheduled. In addition, in an effort to keep their children safe, parents don’t allow their children to wander and explore as much as children were allowed to 30 years ago. Other contributing factors to NDD are the amount of time children spend playing video games and watching television, as well as significant amounts of time spent riding in the car. All of this translates into to less time for “nature-play.”
This is concerning to me. I think if children lose their connection to the earth, they will be less likely to care about how their actions affect it and less apt to see how the two are even related in the first place.
When I was asked to find a “green” project to blog about for the BlogHer DonorsChoose Challenge, I wanted to find something that I felt could make a real impact. When I read aboutÂ Ms. S’s 10th grade physics class Read For Energy project, I knew I had found a match.
According to Ms. S:
My tenth grade classroom is in a public charter high school. It is an urban, high-need environment catering to at-risk students, the majority of whom receive free/reduced-priced lunch. We are a college prep institution in which 100% of our graduates are accepted to four-year colleges.
Many of our students end up as the first generation of children in their families to graduate high school and/or attend college. Most deal with racial discrimination and violence on a daily basis outside of our school.
Over the course of the school year we study physics while also studying the global energy situation. At the root of our studies is Global Warming. It may seem surprising, but despite all the news broadcasts, televisions commercials, and documentaries, my students donâ€™t know much about global warming. As I mentioned before they come to our school below grade level in many cases, and also with many concerns about their personal lives. When they enter our school most of our students are more concerned with what is immediate â€” rewards and consequences. Our studies of global warming allow them to not only reflect upon their personal energy use, but also to think beyond themselves. It teaches them to think more globally.
While what I really wish we could do is buy these 10th graders the opportunity to spend countless hours in nature, connecting with the earth in a physical way, that’s not an option. However, I think by participating in this project to help purchase 40 copies of the book “Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You,” we are doing the next best thing. We can help them to learn that their world is bigger than what’s outside their front door and that their daily choices and actions can have significant lasting consequences.
I think that if we are going to slow or reverse the global warming problem, we need everyone to get involved – from preschoolers to high school students to large corporations and governments. Education is an important part of the process. “Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You” teaches about the science behind global warming, as well as activism (something I’m especially keen on). It teaches that anyone can help the cause and that individual actions count. Ms. S says, “I want them to know early on in the school year that their sole efforts can make a difference in the world. I also want them to pass the knowledge they learn in my class onto others to cause greater change.” Here, here!
I think these kids have an opportunity to make a real difference. I want to see them get these books (which, by the way, will be used by future students as well) and I hope you do too.
So what can you to do help?
- Make a donation to Read For Energy! Every little bit counts, even $1. Seriously! (Note: This project will expire on Nov. 10.)
- If this cause doesn’t move you, perhaps another one of the BlogHer DonorsChoose Challenges will. Take a look and see if something else inspires you to donate.
- Blog about this or any of the other challenges. You can add a widget to your blog, by grabbing a widget code from the sidebar or from the BlogHer Challenge Page Widgets.
- Make your own challenge page. Visit the FAQ for instructions on how to do so. Then be sure to label yourself as a BlogHer member so you can have your challenge connected to ours.
Cross-posted on BlogHer