Our relationship to nature is changing.
This past Thursday, I posted a Throwback Thursday on Instagram, featuring short shorts, shiny black hair and of course, jelly slippers. (Go on, take a look.) Reactions from friends and followers ranged from my obvious fashionista prowess to comments about the colour of my skin.
You’re so tanned! Wow, you were dark! Look at how different you looked!
Yes, I was much darker as a child than I am now. But before you chalk it up to some Beyoncé-esque skin bleaching, the truth is, as a child, I spent every waking summertime moment outside. (Also, sunscreen – what was that?)
Riding my bike. Hiking down trails. Playing at the park. Skipping in the school playground. And oh, our front porch – I spent hours sitting there, chatting with my neighbours and friends. We were only inspired to come inside after one (or four) reminders from our parents, and even then, it was difficult to simply open the screen door and leave the outdoors behind.
My boys, although bona fide nature lovers, have a decidedly different connection to the outdoors.
Sure, they love to be outside, and the neighbourhood park ranks high on their list of favourite places. But they also love to watch the television, and videos on the tablet. And they adore video games, especially the handheld variety. And Reid, at only 5-years old, is content to plug into his iPod with child-appropriate headphones, cancelling out the world around him. With technology at their fingertips, it’s easy to forget about what’s important, like being outside and enjoying nature. In fact, with each passing generation, children seem to be playing less and less outside.
We are now at a tipping point where our connection to nature could be lost for good. …