The Nature of Us

                       Environmental Disconnect

By: Brittany Czarnecki

               It is no secret that over the years people have lost touch with nature, some                may no longer feel that connection or desire to be in nature. Environmental                disconnect is that lost connection, the increased use of computers and other                electronics has enticed us so much that it is no longer common for kids to                    play outside. This was confirmed in a study by The Nature of Americans                       National Report which found that more than 1/2 of adults in the U.S.                             reported spending less than five hours per week in nature. The same study                 also found that kids between the ages of 8 and 12 spend three times as many               hours on computers each week than they do playing outside. 

I can’t help but think back to when I was growing up, my brothers                                 and I were constantly outside playing, we had freedom to explore                                 the nearby woods. We saw deer running through the trees, we could                             hear all the noises of the forest and smell the different trees that                                     surrounded us. There are physical and psychological benefits of                                     being outside and I believe it greatly effects how kids grow up and                                 how they treat their environment. An article written by Harvard                                   Medical School lists some of these benefits of being in nature, the                                   first being that people will absorb more vitamin D just from being                                 outside. A psychological benefit is that people seem happier overall                              when they have spent some time outdoors, you feel more relaxed.                                  Researchers from the University of Essex in England say that just five                            minutes of “green exercise” resulted in an improvement of self-                                      esteem and an overall better mood. Green exercise is just how it                                    sounds, it’s working out in nature rather than a gym, this can be                                    something a simple as going for a walk in the woods or perhaps a                                  hike up a mountain. If hiking up a mountain is not your style you                                  can still get in your “green exercise” by just taking a walk around                                    your neighborhood. Or perhaps if your neighborhood is not very                                    green, doesn’t have many trees you can drive to one that does and                                  just go for a nice quiet walk. This is a great way to get your kids to                                  start spending more time outdoors, take them on the walk with you                              and next time maybe go into the woods, I guarantee the first time a                                kid sees a deer cross their path they will be excited about the                                          outdoors. Nature may also have the power to heal you faster from                                  injuries or even and illness such as the common cold. 

People take nature for granted and do not fully understand the benefits it                    can have on not only their life, but their children’s life as well. I was lucky                  enough to grow up in a time when cell phones were new and kids did not                    rely on electronics to entertain them. Sure we had Nintendo and Xbox, but                  those were saved for rainy days spent inside. We had the woods around my                neighborhood where a fallen tree became a fortress, a stick became a                          sword and a babbling brook was a raging river                                                  

that we must cross to save our kingdom! I believe that parents these                              days play an important role in exposing their kids to “green” time                                  rather than screen time. Parents should be encouraging their kids to                            play outside especially when the parents grew up in a time similar to                           mine where the outdoors meant freedom of imagination and exploring.                       No matter how advanced technology becomes in the near future, I                                 believe that people like myself will teach their kids the value, benefits                           and wonder that comes from being outside. All in the hopes that they                           will pass those ideas down to their kids so that this connection that we                         have lives on through generations to come.






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