March 3, 2011 at 10:43 am (Community, General, Holidays, Wildlife)
Tags: deficit, nature, woodlands
A good article on the woodlands.co.uk blog:-
This is the central question in Richard Louv’s book, “Last child in the woods,” and this concern is shared by the broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. As Attenborough says, “all children start off being interested in the natural world, it’s deep in our instincts…”. Children may have theoretical knowledge but not touchy-feely experience. As Louv explains, ” children today are aware of global threats to the environment but their physical contact, their intimacy, with nature is fading.”
Natural England did a survey recently in which they examined changing relationships with nature across generations and they found that fewer then 10% of children now play in natural places (such as woodlands and heathlands) compared with 40% of today’s adults who did so when they were young. The BBC Wildlife Magazine carried out another survey which found that many children now cannot identify common species such as bluebells and frogs. Other surveys show that this is not just a British problem: the American Journal of Play, surveying thousands of mothers across the world, discovered that the number of those reporting their children “exploring nature” were lowest in China, Brazil and Indonesia. Playing in wild areas has been shown to have a positive psychological impact – a National Trust survey of 3,000 adults revealed that their most prominent happy memories were of being outdoors in the natural world and a large number cited building dens as a particularly happy memory.
Causes of children being “stuck inside”
Computer games and TV are often blamed for children staying indoors but there are other factors – for example being driven to school rather than walking keeps children from the outdoors and the almost obsessive fear of abduction, which many parents have, often stops children being allowed outside. It may also be that pressure to do more and more with school and outside means that there is less genuinely free time for children when they have to make their own entertainment. At a recent woodlands.co.uk conference of owners of small woodlands it was suggested that owners should think of things for their children to do in woods, but one of the participants pointed out that once in a wood children will find their own activities and this process of discovering what’s interesting and what there is to do is itself important. Let them discover nature rather than spoon feed it to them was the message of that discussion.
What are the consequences of a “nature deficit”?
“Keeping an eye on children” is all very well but it has left a whole generation more ignorant of what goes on in the natural world and out of the habit of exploring and discovering. This has consequences for them personally including much higher rates of obesity, suffering form attention disorders and more likely to experience depression. In a bigger-picture way, though, it will surely have enormous consequences for their attitude towards nature when they grow up – if they haven’t experienced the miracles of the world around them they will be less likely to make sacrifices to preserve woodlands and wild spaces.
But all this assumes that the nature deficit is limited to children – adults surely suffer from it too. Many, many or our buyers of small woodlands give as driving motivation that they want to “get away from the screen” and get “back to nature”.
What can be done about it?
It’s hard to know how to persuade the nation as a whole to move towards more outdoor play, but individually families can choose more activities in woodlands and wild areas. There are many structured activities which get people into woodlands such as Centre Parcs holidays and “Go Ape” walkway adventures. Recent excitement about the Forestry Commission woodlands shows how much people value public spaces, even those who don’t visit very often. The threat of wholesale sell-offs has made everyone focus on how important woodlands are for our wellbeing, so hopefully the recent publicity will make people spend more time in open woodlands – whoever owns them!
September 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm (Climate Change, Community, Energy, Food, Localisation, Peak Oil, Transport, Waste and Recycling)
Tags: transition stone
Had a great day yesterday at Transition Stone’s “Festival of Possibilities” – the location was the very beautiful Hayes at Stone, a big old house in acres of picturesque grounds which is home to a small community of Transitioners giving a whole range of workshops, everything from bread-making, bicycle maintenance and diesel engine vegetable oil conversions to micro-hydro and woodworking using a home made pole lathe. I gave my Green Cottage presentation as a contribution.
I don’t know if it was a combination of the venue, lovely weather and kindred spirits or the home made cake, soup and crusty rolls, but the whole day was really heartwarming and gave me a real lift. It’s not that often I find people who are really on my wavelength but this was one occasion. Thankyou Transition Stone for a great day and a big success, all power to you!!
Love the home made geodome 😉
August 8, 2010 at 5:40 pm (Climate Change, Community, Energy, Food, Localisation, Peak Oil)
Tags: guerilla gardening, local food
There’s loads of stuff ready for eating already from the Phase 2 planters, even though they were only planted a few weeks ago!!
There’s tons of rocket to be had, and I pulled a lovely bunch of radishes on the way back from town just now!!
July 18, 2010 at 3:05 pm (Climate Change, Community, Food, Peak Oil)
Tags: guerilla gardening, local food
We’ve had a bit of rain now fortunately, and the crops in the new community planters are coming on strong!! 🙂
July 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm (Community, Holidays)
Tags: holiday, solar heated swimming pool, staycation
We have had a week off work and decided to take a ‘staycation’, ie have a holiday but stay in this country, a much more environmentally friendly option and it encourages us to make the most of the beautiful country where we live, and let other people across the world enjoy their own countries in the same way, without having them damaged so much by tourism and climate change.
So last weekend around 14 of us hired a house in the country not far from York, for a friend’s 30th birthday and a long weekend away. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, we had a solar heated swimming pool and a hot tub, and took it in turns to cook, including a BBQ they had there. It was a great weekend, drinking chilled beer in the sun by the pool, playing games and popping into York on the Sunday for a look around the historic city.
It worked out at £123 per head for 3 nights, plus food plus petrol to York and back. Pretty good value, and at absolutely minimal cost to the planet. And it was a kind of communal experience that you don’t normally get on holiday.
July 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm (Climate Change, Community, Food, Peak Oil)
Tags: community allotments, guerilla gardening, local food
Well, today was our community planting day for our 12 lovely new raised beds!!
Our local councillor came down and we even had the Mayor of Bury digging in some beans.
We are hoping to get some kind of hut to keep stuff in, and if the weather is nice in a couple of weeks, we are going to have a community barbeque up there!!
June 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm (Community, Wildlife)
Tags: nature, recolonisation, scrubland
The areas of derelict land which are currently designated to receive raised beds are actually only a small part of the total derelict area here in Pimhole.
This afternoon I had a wander round the remaining areas, and what I discovered really blew me away – nature is well on with her redevelopment plans for the area.
There has been talk of seeding these areas with wild flowers, but nature seems to have decided on her own biodiversity mix. Whilst I was there I could hear crickets or grasshoppers or something chirruping away to each other. I nearly forgot for a second that I was in a demolished downtown Victorian terraced housing estate.
June 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm (Climate Change, Community, Food, Peak Oil)
Tags: guerilla gardening, local food
Have just been to do some weeding at the five raised beds we already have, some of them were getting pretty overgrown. The potatoes are doing amazingly well though, and in their planters they have totally crowded out the weeds!
I actually ended up leaving some of the weeds in, the daisies are pretty and provide some flowers for passing bees. And some of the low weeds provide a bit of shelter for the soil, which would be baking in the sun otherwise.
I’m really impressed with the way these beds have coped with the very hot and dry weather – there is no water source nearby so the only water they have received has been from what little rain we have had.
The second site is nearly ready, which will receive 12 large planters. We are having a community planting day on 3rd July, I have a load of pumpkin seedlings all ready to go in!!
June 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm (Climate Change, Community, Energy, Food, Peak Oil)
Tags: local food, market garden
Last week I paid a visit to Glebelands City Growers in Sale – a market garden supplying food locally:-
A really inspiring operation!!