Linda Pelzman appreciates the beauty of the outdoor world, sometimes pulling her children into the yard to gaze at a full moon or peer into a dense fog. An educator and founder of a summer camp, she only wishes her enthusiasm was fully shared.
On a recent nature walk near her home in Gaithersburg, her younger son, 6, was unimpressed, pleading, "I just want to go back to civilization." Her older son, at 13, has made it clear he prefers PlayStation.
"Kids don't think about going outside like they used to, and unless there is some scheduled activity, I don't think they know what to do outdoors anymore," Pelzman said.
Pelzman's view is shared by a growing number of children's advocates, environmentalists, business executives and political leaders who fear that this might be the first generation of "indoor children," largely disconnected from nature.
Concerns about long-term consequences -- affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental consciousness -- have spawned a national movement to "leave no child inside." In recent months, it has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grass-roots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a "green hour" in each day.
Tomorrow 40 civic leaders -- representing several governors, three big-city mayors, Walt Disney Co., Sesame Workshop, DuPont, the gaming industry and others -- will launch a campaign to raise $20 million that will ultimately fund 20…
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