Most adults of a certain age have childhood memories of carefree days spent playing outdoors – climbing, digging, collecting, building, and exploring the natural world around them, at their own pace, in their own way.
Those children of a generation ago are the parents of today, and you might expect such outdoor play to be part of their families’ lifestyle. But today’s overscheduled kids are increasingly “plugged in” to electronic devices and media and unplugged from the fundamental and formative experience of nature in their own neighborhood. Their senses – including, most sadly, their sense of wonder – are bombarded, overwhelmed, and ultimately diminished.
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, refers to this nature-child disconnect as “nature deficit disorder.” One of the primary symptoms is the replacement of the green space by the screen space as the occupier of children’s free time. Indeed, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the average American child spends 44 hours per week (more than six hours a day) staring at some kind of electronic screen. Studies have linked excessive television viewing to obesity, violence, and even lower intelligence in kids. Now, a growing wave of research indicates that children who spend time outdoors are healthier, overall, than their indoor counterparts.
Find the information, tools, and inspiration you need to get you and your kids outside! Visit the National Wildlife Federation’s www.greenhour.org, a Web site rich in family-friendly content and which hosts a supportive virtual community where families can learn, explore, and share their outdoor experiences and backyard adventures.
Did you know that the Subaru SIA plant is the world’s first auto assembly plant to achieve zero landfill status? Thanks to a strict program of reusing and recycling, nothing from its manufacturing efforts goes into a landfill. There’s even a wildlife habitat in the backyard.
Being earth friendly is a lifelong Subaru priority. It’s not just about getting better gas mileage or reducing emissions; it’s also about reducing the amount of material waste, one car at a time.
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Make a Difference
Because of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), many schools are scaling back or eliminating environmental education programs. Congress has the opportunity to change this with the reauthorization of NCLB.
The No Child Left Inside Coalition, which includes the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, North American Association for Environmental Education, and many other education and environmental organizations, is working with Congress to include environmental education in NCLB.
By making a few changes to NCLB, we can dramatically improve our schools’ ability to prepare children for real-world challenges and careers, and ensure an environmentally sustainable future.
Learn more about the No Child Left Inside Coalition.