Opinion

Children of the countryside

6 Aug , 2018  

We live in a world where cultural differences are from time to time, thrown into sharp focus by momentous events. Maybe if we look at children those differences are much more blurred.

Think about it, today’s schoolchild is the conservationist, environmentalist, protector of our wild places. But many children don’t have basic access to the countryside or the wildlife it contains. For many, it is an almost something akin to Jupiter or Mars, far, distant and hostile. The animals and plants more like “Alien” than friends.

More and more our wild places are under threat from profit. Commerce is now the single biggest danger facing our eco-system. We think we are clever, so clever in fact that we don’t need to worry as long as we can make a profit despite what damage we do. Perhaps a timely reminder is that we to live in our planet’s biosphere and to date we have not found a way to survive without it. Something has to be done and sooner rather than latter otherwise perhaps your children, or your grandchildren are going to be growing up in a different world.

Are we so very different? Today’s children are growing up with no knowledge of the wild places around them. They are stuck in towns and cities becoming more disconnected with anything outside their confines. Long-term conservation has made way for short term profit.

Does this sound familiar? Because; am I talking about the children of this country, or of Kenya. For very different reasons we are disconnecting our children from the wildlife and environment. In Kenya, it is a lack of money that sees children growing up in Africa, but may have never seen a Lion in the wild.

Most Kenyan children don’t live near a national park. Entry is free but the cost of traveling to the park puts visits out of the question. Nowadays, outside of these parks you are very unlikely to see a Lion. Elephants, if poaching is not brought under control, by world leaders; will be extinct in the wild by 2025. Kenya’s children will not care because it is only a picture in a book to them.

If you want to help Kenyan children, then add your support to a charity. We support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Their Community Outreach Programs are vital building relationships with local communities. Allowing adult and children to understand and enjoy their wildlife and environmental heritage.

Oh and don’t think we are doing any better. Our own children have never been more disconnected from our countryside. Ninety one percent of parents think having access to nature and wildlife is important for children. And yet 27% 8-15 year olds had never played outside by themselves beyond their home or garden. Think of our Hedgehog as the African Lion of the UK, for 37% of our children have never seen one and they are becoming just as endangered.

Get out enjoy our wildlife and environment and help others to do so.

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