Connecting People with that land that sustains us

 

“The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea: the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable.” —Richard Louv

Any study of American history, including conservation history, is intimately tied to indigenous peoples, in this region, the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois. The term “seventh generation” and the philosophy of looking forward seven generations comes from the Constitution or “Great Law” of the Iroquois, which reads: “Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation.”

That eloquent statement means every choice we make now impacts our children—and theirs. We are responsible for thinking about what our current choices will mean seven generations into the future. There is no greater responsibility than ensuring that our kids have healthy land and clean water from which to live. We need to educate kids now about our vital connection to land and water. We need to encourage a love for the outdoors that will lead them to conserve healthy land and water for themselves and for their children and grandchildren.

Study after study demonstrates that when kids connect to nature at young ages, they grow up respecting it and wanting to care for it because they understand that the earth cares for them. Ironically, as we face our greatest environmental challenges, kids are spending less time outside and more time immersed in phones and computers.
                   

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our chidlren's health
(and also, by the way, in our own).” ~ Richard Louv


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"If a child is to keep his unborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscover the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." ~ Rachel Carson

The following list includes reports, studies, and publications on the benefits of reconnecting people, particularly children, to a sense of place in the natural world. The extensive benefits of cultivating a “sense of wonder” and increasing connection to the natural world through encounters and access to green spaces include physiological, social and emotional health benefits and the fostering of environmental stewardship. People are only as healthy as the land, water and air that sustains us.  It is vital to understand this connection and to nurture it.


Land Trust Alliance Teams with Environmental, Health Allies to Combat National Health Crisis of Nature Deficit Disorder
http://www.childrenandnature.org/news/detail/land_trust_alliance_teams_with_environmental_health_allies_to_combat_nation/

Children and Nature Network
http://www.childrenandnature.org/

The Children and Nature Network 2012 Report
http://www.childrenandnature.org/downloads/CNNHealthBenefits2012.pdf 

The Health Benefits of Parks.  
http://www.tpl.org/sites/default/files/cloud.tpl.org/pubs/benefits_HealthBenefitsReport.pdf  

Healthy forest parks make healthy people: Forest environments enhance human immune function. http://www.hphpcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/5000-paper-by-Qing-Li2-2.pdf.

Greenspace, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2566234/.

Therapeutic effect of forest bathing on human hypertension in the elderly.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0914508712001852.

Children with attention deficits concentrate better after a walk in the park.
http://jad.sagepub.com/content/12/5/402.

More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204611003665.

Healthy parks, healthy people: The health benefits of contact with nature in a park context.
http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/313821/HPHP-deakin-literature-review.pdf.

Sobel, David. Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators.
 http://www.childrenandnature.org/reading/#sthash.MPOI62I6.dpuf

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
http://www.friskinaturen.org/media/maas_et_al_2009_morbidity_and_green_environment_1_.pdf

Wild Child: Guiding the Young Back to Nature.
http://www.ecology.com/2012/04/13/wild-child-guiding-young-nature/

National Environmental Education Foundation
http://www.neefusa.org/health/pubs/index.htm
 
 

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