If a child never sees the stars, never has meaningful encounters with other species, never experiences the richness of nature, what happens to that child?" ~ Richard Louv
A recent study noted that depictions of nature in children's books have significantly decreased. Other studies have noted how little time children spend connecting with the outside world, and just how beneficial and important it is for all of us to be in regular contact with nature. When we read about these studies the emphasis is usually on people of privilege. But what about people in economically-challenged neighborhoods and rural areas? And how are different cultures engaging with the natural world (or prevented from doing so)?
In a recent blog post, Richard Louv (author of No Child Left Inside and The Nature Principle) highlights that "we need a much deeper understanding of equity and capacity" when it comes to people's access to nature, and he offers 12 questions to explore. Here is a sampling:
How do different minority or ethnic communities — urban, suburban or rural — connect to nature? What tools and traditions do these communities practice that could be encouraged – and adopted by other groups?
What barriers to nature experience are specific to children and young people with disabilities? Also, what nature-oriented abilities and capacities could be adapted to other communities?
What is the comparative availability of nearby nature (especially natural parks) based not only on acreage, but also on such issues as crime, legal restrictions,…
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