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Global Warming Causing Nasty Weather? Go Inside And Turn On The Air Conditioning

Global Warming Causing Nasty Weather? Go Inside And Turn On The Air Conditioning

A definitive scientific report warns that extreme weather events linked to climate change will continue around the world in coming decades.

Another study warns that even if the current rate of global decarbonisation were to double, the world would still be headed for six degrees of warming by the end of this century. (And that’s a big “even if.”)

Adding gloom to doom, new statistics reveal that since 1966, Britain’s bird population has declined by 44 million, meaning that about one fifth of the total population of Britain’s birds, or one nesting pair per minute, has vanished. This is due, at least in part, to a failure to protect habitat and to dramatic changes in the weather.

So where is the outrage and the demand for change in the face of these frightening facts? More precisely, why are young people today, the future stewards of our planet, not taken a leading role in the defense of the natural world?

The reality is that today’s kids are much less likely than their parents to have a personal connection with nature. That’s because their outdoor time is, generally speaking, sporadic and highly supervised. Recent studies have revealed that:
•    Children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 7 hours and 37 minutes a day staring at electronic screens (television, video games, computers, etc.), leaving little time for outdoor play.
•    The number of children who participated in outdoor activities such as hiking, walking and fishing dropped by 50 percent between 1997 and 2003.
•    Eight-year-olds in Britain can identify 25 percent more artificial Pokemon characters than real, native living things, such as “oak tree, sparrow, otter.”

In schools, hours devoted to physical education and recess are down compared to previous generations, and at home, parents are more reluctant than ever to let kids spend time outside unsupervised.

One thing has improved with time: modern kids are more likely than previous generations to understand concerns about the environment and their role in preserving it. Of course, that’s important.

But if a child can describe exactly how global warming is affecting our planet, yet doesn’t remember the last time he explored his local woods, or beaches, he’s not likely to genuinely care about nature. According to research conducted at Cornell University, children who spend time in nature before age 11 are much more likely to grow up to be environmentally minded adults than kids who don’t.

Of course, it’s not just the planet’s health that’s at stake. The effects of staying in — as opposed to getting out — can be seen nationwide: researchers have found that the more time young people spend indoors, the more stressful they grow and the more likely they are to have ADHD. Attention span and memory decrease, spiritual development is curtailed, and of course the rate of obesity soars. In short, the mental and physical health of our children is at stake.

On a personal note, I gain so much pleasure from being outdoors that I want others to have that experience too. As a mother, I have seen nature’s positive, calming effect on my children and their friends, and it worries me that we are getting further away from nature. I know I always feel better when I have spent time outdoors, stepping on the earth. As Laurence S. Rockefeller wrote, “Nature quiets the mind by engaging with an intelligence larger than our own.”

So what can be done? As a teacher, I believe an excellent place to start is in the classroom. With the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has come an increasing emphasis on language arts and math, those areas tested under NCLB, which has resulted in almost everything else being pushed aside in America’s elementary schools. And how are kids supposed to care about conservation and preservation if they know nothing about them?

The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI) is a bi-partisan bill that would assist states in creating stronger environmental literacy programs for K-12 students.  NCLI already has the support of more than 2,000 organizations, representing some 50 million Americans. You can click here to sign our petition, asking your senators and representative to revive the NCLI, for our children and the future environmental health of this country.

Related Care2 Coverage

Extreme Weather Events To Continue, Warn Scientists

44 Million British Birds Lost Since 1966

“Get Out Into Nature!” Says Britain’s National Trust

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Photo Credit: thinkstock

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91 comments

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8:02AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:50AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

Thanks

7:05AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

signed
Thanks for sharing.

1:13PM PST on Jan 4, 2013

signed already ty

3:51AM PST on Jan 4, 2013

are the weather changes caused by man or the natural way of things is the problem.

11:45AM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Already signed. Tks.

9:17AM PST on Dec 24, 2012

already signed but thanks for sharing :)

5:26PM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Sandra C., I assure you I am no troll. I am extremely concerned about global warming and the environmental problems that our planet is experiencing. I am guessing you are not aware of the conspiracy theory that Alex Jones is putting out on his website about the government using HAARP to cause the mega storms and causing all of the climate problems facing the planet. Is that what you believe? That global warming is a problem specifically caused by the US government controlling the weather? If so, then so be it. I do not believe that, but apparently Madeleine T. does or that's what she says.

5:58AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Con't...

Darryll Why would you think that earth is an open fountain of gifts for humanity? Why would you think that our atmosphere is an endless supply of fresh air? Because you look up and see this vast area you think that is all breathable air? We are junking up or atmosphere and worse yet the Tropopause aka Thermal Layer. Man also has created his own junk yard in space. Excuse me, but man IS his own worse enemy and until we all realize that (the sooner the better) we are all in danger. Better get respirators for you and your family, Darryll, because you're going to need them. "...Lift your head sheep"...before you are asking "Where has all the...gone."

5:56AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Susan A...I find it insulting that you would go after Madeleine T, calling her a "pitiful person." I don't know if you are a "troll" stirring the pot or just plain rude. Here is something for you and others that can't seem to think outside the box. It goes; 'Only when there is no more grass will the sheep lift their heads and wonder what has been going on'. - Old Indian Proverb I suggest you lift your head Susan A. there was no star for you, but one for Madeleine T.

janet T... I also came from that era. Those were the days of Statesmen leading this land and money was not our/their god. When I attended grade school, back in the 40's, we were told then that "Someday this country would be in danger of losing our natural resources and pollution would cause us breathing problems...that we had to PROTECT our natural resources (Not be wasteful) and pay mind to polluting our air..." It as astounding to hear. This Great Wealthy nation was going to be in trouble...BIG trouble that would effect us all.

It seems to me this has come to pass and there are still those out there (The Darryll G's) that "refuse" to see and admit. See: You cannot keep taking and putting in without it being "Too much." Admit: When you have the amount of vehicles (alone) polluting, the factories around the world polluting, trash dumped in the oceans and waterways polluting, demand for gas and oil being sucked out of earth, ... something is bound to give. Why would you think that earth is an open f

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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