Monday, June 15, 2009
The Great American Backyard Campout is June 27 this year. What on earth can this possibly have to do with good deeds and spreading change?
Well, there have been numerous articles in the last couple of years about children and getting them outdoors. Many of the articles talk about childhood obesity, but the importance of children communing with nature goes way, WAY beyond getting more exercise.
There has been a study about childhood myopia. It is proven that children SEE BETTER when they spend less time indoors.
There has been a study about the alleviation of ADHD symptoms.
There has been a study about how children learn about their physical world better when they do it while outdoors.
There has been a lot of writing about how children relate to the environment and show concern about the environment when they've spent more time in nature.
As adults many of us are entrenched in our various ways of living. Sure, I agree it would be great to use less gasoline, but I haven't done anything to change my driving habits. It is difficult for most humans to make the large-scale changes in our daily lives that are needed to benefit the environment.
So, one thing we can do is use our influence to help the next generation do better than we are and we can start by getting kids outside.
And here we circle back to camping in the backyard. Mark your calendars. Do you have kids? Grandkids? Nephews and nieces? Why not plan to camp out in your backyard this year? The site even has a map that shows people all around the U.S. who have made the commitment to camp out this year.
Don't have kids and don't know any kids? Consider making a kid-friendly cache and registering it at geocaching.com. That will provide one more place in this small world of ours where kids can go to explore nature.
If you want to read more about this topic, check out the article at APA Online. Also, the wiki on "nature deficit disorder" has more info and some interesting links.
And one last cool thing... nature is free!