When it comes to green living and looking after the environment, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it pays to start young.
Children don’t know what they haven’t experienced and research is showing they’re experiencing more indoor play, than bonding with the outdoors and having imaginative play in the natural environment.
In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, George Monbiot promotes the idea that children must experience nature to understand why it deserves caring for.
Mr Monbiot said children who are brought up in a more indoor world will not fight to keep natural beauty pristine and may not work to slow the effects of climate change and other issues that environmental damage is causing.
“Without a feel for the texture and function of the natural world, without an intensity of engagement almost impossible in the absence of early experience, people will not devote their lives to its protection,” he wrote.
These children may also not understand the importance of living sustainably and building in an environmentally-friendly way.
Sir David Attenborough has also bemoaned the fact that many children lose interest in the natural world as they grow up.
“If you lose your interest in the natural world you’ve lost a very precious possession and something which could give you great pleasure for the rest of your life,” he told The Telegraph in the UK.
These commentators are supported by research that shows we need to teach the importance of the environment by parents and carers immersing children in the natural environment and raise the next generation of environmental caretakers.
These children may then be the next sustainability masterminds, devising new ways of building and living well into the future.