Kids Need to Hear Good News about Environment



Recently I've been reading and writing about How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott P. Sampson. The chapter on "The Rewilding Revolution" included a passage that grabbed my attention:
"One of the greatest gifts we can give to children is an optimistic outlook on the future. Particularly for kids in early childhood, avoid negative stories about the natural world and the declining environment. This can lead to emotional detachment rather than caring. Recognize, however, that kids in middle childhood will likely be getting a doom-and-gloom message about the state of the world, even if it doesn't come from you. It's important to listen to kids' fears for the future, to respond honestly, and even to share your own fears. Equally important, however, is balancing any fears with positive, hopeful stories of change, stories that demonstrate how people are working to solve the problems, and how youths can be part of this critical work." (emphasis mine)



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2 comments:

  1. Well said! This is a really important point. It is easy for anyone (adults and kids alike) to turn a deaf ear on all the negative 'doom and gloom' messages. I feel like the more I hear it, the more I mistrust the real motive behind it. We can't watch any educational video about animals or nature or at museums without there being some big warning about how none of these natural wonders created by God will last unless we 'save' it. At the same time, presenting a balanced message about the importance of good stewardship at time can be empowering to kids. When I was a kid, simple lessons reinforced by adult examples to "leave things better than you found it" when camping or outdoors were powerful to me as a kid.

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    1. Unfortunately, I believe most doom-and-gloom messages are basically accurate based on the latest science. But without a commensurate dose of empowerment and positive examples for change, I think the message will fall on deaf ears and do more damage than good. Stewardship is such a positive empowering message for everyone (and a potential source of common ground for all ideologies), and used to be a bedrock conservative value - it saddens me that conservative politics seems to have no use for it anymore.

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