Environmental Education Week and The Force (or the Farce?) of Nature

We’ve recently been acknowledging weekly national education topics, like national library week and brain awareness week. We’re a little late, but last week’s topic can’t go unmentioned, as it happened to be National Environmental Education week (EE week), and the focus for this year is “Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 21st Century Learning.”

As an educational publisher, we love blogging about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) claims that, “student achievement in STEM is key to fostering a new wave of innovators who can creatively address complex 21st century challenges.” The NEEF provides a list of topics to help students get involved in outdoor activities, and to better understand their relationship to nature. One of the resources provided is a Nature Deficit Disorder survey, and it encourages children to think about how they interact with nature. It also cites a link to an article from the New York Times called “Growing up Denatured”, which claims that technology and organized activities have sequestered our children from the natural world. The article is from 2005, which means it’s even more relevant to today’s world.

Take a read through the article and have your kids take the survey, which is still active. Commenting on the battle against technology vs. Mother Earth, the author of the article claims that, “Even if parents think their children get too much screen time and not enough safari time, many have no idea what to do about it.” Furthermore, one parent goes on to exclaim, “It [technology] is stronger than we are.”

Is it really stronger than we are? Is it stronger than nature? Do all our children have NDD, or Nature Deficit Disorder?

We would love to hear from you and any thoughts you might have on this topic. Do you feel like you have to force your children to have a relationship with nature or does it happen easily?

Jane at Nomad

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