Conservation Minnesota

We Need Nature to Nurture our Future

Now that Thanksgiving and the “Black Friday” shopping day are over for us, lets consider what gifts we’ll be giving our kids and grandkids this holiday season.  Of course there will be some that utilize technology for iPhones, video games, toys, and gadgets that take batteries.  But those things will generally keep kids indoors.  Instead, we need to teach the younger generations to enjoy nature as much as their parents and grandparents did, and hopefully still do.

In this dismal economy, with budget strains and political malaise, the young deserve and need to have hope that their world can be a better place…economically and environmentally.  Richard Louv, the esteemed author of “Last Child in the Woods”, has some interesting notions in his new book, “The Nature Principle”, to make nature an important ingredient in young people’s lives.  He says that the more high technology we’ve embraced, the more nature we need.  Technology will always be with us, but we need an antidote to its downside.

Because more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, more nature will have to exist there.  The true greening of America will occur when we create nature wherever we live – in urban areas, farms, rangelands, yards and on our roofs.

“Sustainability alone,” Louv goes on, “is not sustainable…it is static.” We need to produce human energy (health, creativity, intelligence, joy) through nature.  A society where we immersed in nature as much as technology will help bring about joy, creativity and intelligence.

We will need to balance the virtual with the real to make a future more promising and worth creating.  We owe it to future generations, and its a legacy to be proud of.

So lets encourage more parks, green spaces, rain gardens and plantings where we live.  And buy some sleds, skis, skates, bicycles, and other outdoor gear for holiday gifts, so the young can get outside and appreciate the nature around them.

About John Helland

John Helland
John Helland is a history graduate of the University of Minnesota. He served as the nonpartisan legislative research analyst for the Minnesota House of Representatives after graduation. He worked extensively on environment and natural resources legislation and issues, and was the primary nonpartisan research staffer for the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committees from 1971 to 2008.
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