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City Kids ‘Missing Out on Nature’

A growing disconnection between city children and nature threatens disastrous consequences for the State's environment, one of WA's top scientists has warned.

Ric How, a senior curator at the WA Museum, said children in urban environments were becoming oblivious to the natural world.

Dr How, who is also an adjunct professor at the school of anatomy and human biology at the University of WA, said the issue was a significant challenge to biodiversity education.

He said this held serious consequences for children's health but also environmental conservation because the next generation could not protect and appreciate what they did not understand.

Citing the work of American author Richard Louv to describe the problem as "nature deficit disorder", Dr How said that it was being fuelled by a growing reluctance among parents to let their children go outside.

"I think what we are doing is bringing up a generation which doesn't appreciate how significant the natural environment is," Dr How said.

"The modern generation is very technologically geared and as such is becoming less and less appreciative of what happens outside the home environment or, in fact, the built environment.

"Consequently, we don't spend the time going out for a walk in the bush. And how many parents take their kids camping?

"That part really does mean there is this break from an understanding of how natural processes work."

Sport and Recreation Minister Terry Waldron said he shared many of Dr How's…
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