02 Sep '11, 1am

On Outdoor Experience and Environmental Values

That’s one piece of the pie. Another aspect of the devaluing of nature is, as we’ve discussed before, the disconnection of children from direct contact with the natural world. Such direct contact doesn’t guarantee environmental values (see Rick Perry’s boyhood), but several studies show that early contact with nature — particularly in the form of self-directed play (see Nancy Wells’ studies ) — is pretty much a requirement for long-term, positive environmental values. The generational disconnection began long ago, but has accelerated over the past three decades. The falling poll numbers related to environmental values may have something to do with that. There will always be environmentalists, but without that intimate experience in and love for nature early on, the “environment” becomes an abstraction — something to carry in one’s briefcase, rather than in one’s heart. Tha...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/on-outdoor-e...

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