It’s time to wake up to a new reality. A reality that links investing in the connection between kids and nature will prove to be beneficial and rewarding to all mankind. It’s a new mindset for parents, educators and businesses to embrace—one that stems from curiosity and leads to empathy and respect for all life form. As we know, all children are curious by nature. We all observe how a child’s first drawings tend to reflect an element from the natural world—a dog, tree or rain. It would seem logical that we provide kids with tools, insights and make it fun for their curiosity to develop into respect and empathy for the same things that give them joy and pleasure throughout their childhood. Empower kids to connect with nature and to the world they all share as home.
So, what kind of shift or focus do we need to make happen?
If we channel that curious energy throughout every step of their development to ensure kids understand the implication of the symbiotic relationship between the animal kingdom, plant ecosystem and the natural environment, then kids will have an affinity to preserve and protect them. Furthermore, if they are made aware of their place in the food chain, they will start to comprehend the impact they have in extracting or adding to nature’s offerings. The child is able to appreciate the positive and negative consequences of pollution on people and planet, from a micro perspective as an individual to the macro level as a collective race.
It’s time to expose our kids to not only the benefits of recycling and conserving energy, but also to the life cycle of things they can relate to on a day to day basis—from the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the toys they play, to the materials they come into contact with. They need to understand how and at what point nature provides for their playful enjoyment. We should encourage their curiosity to ask the questions why, how and what as it relates to the mechanics and makings of the toy, shirt or candy. Investing time and energy in this process will open a whole new awareness to the intricacies and complexity between man, things and nature.
Our kids are marketed to do “good” by purchasing and demanding products that will benefit a community, child or cause after the sale. However, are we being fair to our kids to ensure that they are being delivered a platform of information to see the connection behind the money spent on products, which in turns creates the demand and the impact on the people and environment in the creation of that product? Is the intrinsic value of a product truly transparent to the kid today? The more transparency we have in the supply chain the more effective the child understands her relationship with nature.
So what is the “value” of such an investment for kids to know and learn about the connection between nature and the material world? I would argue that it is the “price” to pay for each and every kid to be passionate and committed to a sustainable future. The more we draw relationships between nature and our dependence on the resources it provides, the more kids will value what we have from an early age and instill a reverence about the fundamental building blocks of life. This can be infused in every grade and subject, to projects and activities—the connection between humans and nature. Having this type of green, global mindset throughout every stage will instill a deep respect for all life forms and bring together a collective consciousness that we are ‘in it together” as a human species—that all kids around the globe face challenges and appreciation for Mother Earth.
For this to occur, transparency is required of businesses to expose such pertinent information. Furthermore, educators and caregivers would have to regard this type of information as imperative in a child’s development. It is this new reality that needs to take place in order for our kids to contribute to building a better and sustainable world in the future.
Our kids are our global ambassadors of tomorrow. They will travel the journey of life, to places near and far, communicate with their own tribe, exchange ideas and information using the web, which in turn will influence how we react, respond and reshape our world.
If every child is made to believe in her innate ability to impact the world in a positive way because of the deep connection with nature—our kids will surely build a world that will be shared by people with empathy for a sustainable planet.