Many thanks to our friend Tim Webb at the RSPB for sending us this press release. It highlites the need for inner city kids to get out and enjoy nature much more! I know we had many exciting activities for our kids last year - but we could have done so much more if we had many more parents getting involved.
London kids well-being in greatest danger of
Young people are increasingly missing-out on the mental and physical benefits of spending time in the natural world, according to a survey of UK adults conducted for the RSPB, and the problem's greater in London.
Only a third (37%) of under 35’s feel ‘connected’ with the natural world, compared with more than half (55%) of those aged over 35.
People who spend time with nature claimed significant benefits for their mood and health:
· more than three quarters (76%) of respondents said being out in nature was a great stress reducer;
· just under three quarters (73%) also said that engaging with the natural environment made them feel happy;
· more than half (58%) said that sometimes when they feel unhappy they find comfort in nature;
· over half (51%) need time in nature to be happy.
The study found people who grow up with regular access to the natural world often find it therapeutic, feel better mentally and physically and continue enjoying visits to places like nature reserves, parks and forests throughout their lives. They will also try to introduce family members to these trips too.
But, the results uncovered a worrying trend of ‘Nature Starvation’ amongst young people, depriving them of a vital and proven source of health and happiness. The problem is worse in urban places like London, where there are fewer wild places or where you need to travel to find them.
Kate Humble, RSPB President says: “These results are worrying. If a child’s never gotten their hands dirty sifting though soil for bugs, kicked up leaves or been wowed by a cute baby bird, how can we expect them to care about the natural world? There’s simply no substitute for getting outdoors and experiencing nature first hand. If we don’t make sure our young people enjoy nature we’re taking away something that will help keep them happy and healthy.“
Andy Simpson, Head of Youth and Education at the RSPB, says: “We want more young people to have easy access to nature, starting with schoolchildren. More than 60,000 school children enjoy out of classroom learning with the RSPB every year, which plays a vital role in their mental and physical well being as well as giving them a greater understanding of the environment and the wildlife within it. Over 170,000 young people are Wildlife Explorers, RSPB junior members, giving them knowledge and activities about nature to enjoy at home (see note 2). We know that if we spark an interest at a young age, they’ll develop an interest that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
Europe’s largest wildlife conservation charity is one of the UK’s main providers of access to the outdoors. The charity was keen to find out just how important it is for people of all ages to connect with the natural world and the impacts that not doing so can have.
Wildlife and wild places are increasingly under pressure, threatening to further reduce people’s access to open spaces. The RSPB is campaigning for wise investment to improve this access in it’s Letter to the Future. Signing the letter adds to the voices speaking up for nature and a sound investment in societies well-being. Full details from: www.rspb.org.uk/lettertothefuture.
In the Capital, RSPB London is working with local authorities and other land owners, such as The Royal Parks and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, to run projects helping people get closer to nature. Our reserves at Rainham in the east and Rye Meads in the north, offer a range of opportunities for people to enjoy the great outdoors, any time of the year.