Children should have the right to access nature

Children should have the right to access nature

For anyone who has ever looked at a blackberry bush, ever crawled into a tantalizing grouping within it and got the thorn scratches to prove it, knows that any bush contains many berries that birds can harvest than them. humans will never be able to harvest.

It was a simple and revealing reminder of how many people, especially the younger ones, in our society have never had the kind of basic contacts with nature, never developed the basic practical understanding that you don't get from a book or a screen, that generations they took as standard.

Practical skills

When I was a little boy, around five years old, I was first a blackberry picker in Australia. At the same time, I was taught to hunt for yabbies (freshwater crabs) in the streams surrounding my grandparents' house in a national park near Sydney with a piece of meat tied to a string. (A few years later all the yabbies, pesticides disappeared, it was said).

I also collected cicada shells and learned about metamorphosis. It was also where I learned to use a cross-cut saw, build children's dams across a muddy stream, and to shower under a waterfall.

These are the kinds of experiences that the city of Texas in Austin, perhaps a politically unlikely place, has decided should be the rights of all children. In 2016, his council, which was not a member of the Green Party, unanimously approved a Bill of Rights for Children in the Open Air, guaranteeing its youth the right to many of those activities that I enjoyed so much as a child.

We are increasingly aware that these activities are not only fun, they are not only educational, but they are essential for human well-being; they will develop skills, knowledge and expectations that will lead people through a life of better health and well-being.

And, of course, they will prepare people for physical activities - developing the practical skills that enable people to be active in a society where many suffer from obesity, diabetes, and other health problems stemming from inactivity.

Already fighting

The lack of opportunities and exercise of these activities has been identified as "Nature Deficit Disorder". It is something that many children now suffer from.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has prepared an important report on the need for children to access nature, noting that, in addition to the health, well-being and skills that time spent in nature provides, it is essential Let us take care of our natural world in the future, future generations have knowledge and love for it.

Recognizing this research and the reality, members of the Green Party prior to their spring conference, held in Bournemouth, made a motion on the issue that was their top political priority for the conference.

In it, the party supported the call for access to nature to be recognized as a human right, operating at the international level, but also recognized that this is something that cities and local government can implement at the local level.

In many parts of the country, green councilors are already fighting to save local parks and green spaces, from Sefton Park Meadows and Rimrose Valley Park, to Sunderland and Stoneham.

But the framework of children's right to nature, something that is particularly likely to be denied to those in the poorest communities, which also recognizes that barriers can be lack of knowledge and opportunities as well as lack of access, is an important additional tool, you can expect it to be exercised for the benefit of our children and our world.

Natalie Bennett is the former leader of the Green Party, a member of the Sheffield Green Party, and a regular contributor to The Ecologist.

Video: Should fit parents be denied Equal Access to Their Children? Parental Rights rally Florida 2014 (January 2021).