Children need to get out more warns UK’s National Trust

A generation of British children is growing up out of touch with nature, warns The National Trust. Award-winning BBC producer of the original Springwatch series Stephen Moss has written a report on the subject, called Natural Childhood. He warns of the need to tackle the rise in “Nature Deficiency Disorder”, adopting the term coined by US-based writer Richard Louv, to describe a growing gap between children and nature.

© National Trust Images/Britainonview/Rod Edwards

As someone who lives in the countryside myself, I am well aware of the need to use the land to produce food,” Stephen told ARC over the Easter weekend. “My problem – and I think that of an increasing number of British people – is that since the Second World War the need to produce cheap food for consumers, allied to increased farming efficiency, has set the agenda for managing the countryside.”

The process has excluded two groups which have an equal right to use our land: people and wildlife, he contends. “Unless we change our approach, and accept that the countryside does not exclusively belong to one group of people who have the right to do what they wish with it, then there will be dire consequences both for Britain’s wildlife and its human inhabitants, who no longer feel that they have a right to enjoy the countryside – or what is left of it.

Stephen is very concerned by the possible fate of the British countryside and the surviving wildlife, which he has worked hard to bring to the nation’s television screens. “Ultimately, if the countryside becomes devoid of wildlife we are all losers – not least those who depend on visitors to the countryside to boost the rural economy.

Peter Crosskey
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Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.