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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Friday, 18 June 2010

Health and Safety Gone MAD

We tell our children that traditional forms of outdoor play are against the rules, for example in order to play conkers they must now wear goggles and gloves to protect their eyes and hands, we remove trees from play areas and replace them with plastic ones surrounded by rubber matting. Then we get on their backs when they sit in front of the telly, it's almost like we are criminalising natural play, what happen to the days when as children we were told by our parents to "Go out and Play" and we weren't seen until dark time.

We would run through fields, go scrumping or follow a river, even look into a bird nest to see if it had young in it. Now, our children seem to experience nature through video games or films like Avatar what happened to their curious minds? And the endless questions that would drive adults mad.

Nature Deficit Disorder is growing and research shows that when our children are exposed to Nature, symptoms like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are greatly reduced as well as improving their cognitive abilities, resistance to depression and other negative stresses. Could this be because we have an innate relationship with our natural world? I believe we do have this relationship with nature, even the most hardened person cannot fail to be in awe when they first encounter an Eagle for example.

If we take the time line, the modern world is but a tear drop in the ocean, and our relationship with nature goes back thousands of years. This relationship is known to the scientific world as Biophilia, which is the urge or need for humans to affiliate themselves with other forms of life. In the army I have known soldiers to adopt stray dogs that would normally be put down under so called normal circumstances, given the job a soldier is asked to do, I believe this demonstrates the power of our connection to the natural world.

Nature as a healer is now starting to be recognised as a true source of healing and rightly so in my opinion. However, I think it will be a very long time before we see pharmaceutical adverts being taken over by slick commercials for Nature Therapy, I guess there is no money in healthy people.

Wait...

Did they not say years ago when it first emerged that conservation would be the ruin of us all, that we would lose jobs and the so called do gooder's would destroy our way of life? And yet now, conservation is creating jobs and wealth across the world. Maybe we are at the early stages of another revolution?

The Return to Nature.


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