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Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Progress

Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Progress
Creativity is not endangered. In fact, we could be entering one of the most creative periods in human history, because of the environmental challenges we face.

The human mind is suffering from a broken connection with nature. Ominous as that sounds, it also shows a clear path to progress.

The 21st century may yet be remembered as the century of human restoration through connection with the natural world. The barriers to that relationship – among them our cultural assumption of an apocalyptic future – seem insurmountable. But shift the view just a bit, and the future fills with possibility. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that human health and our ability to learn and create are enhanced when we spend time in more natural environments; that children in nature-based play areas and schools are often better at creating their own games; and that they show fewer symptoms of attention deficit than students in indoor-focused classrooms. Indeed, one study revealed that young people, after a few days immersed in nature, showed significant cognitive improvements and a 50 percent increase in creativity. (Here’s a suggested mantra for legislators and school boards: for every education dollar spent on the virtual, another dollar must be spent on the real, especially on the creation of natural learning environments.)

What if we used that enhanced creative power to help students and the rest of us begin to imagine a nature-rich civilization? A host of new career paths would surely emerge: urban planners,…
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