28 September 2012
It was a real pleasure to attend the National Trust's Natural Childhood conference this week. I was struck by how many people passionately believe that children need to spend more time outdoors enjoying the simple pleasures of a healthy, open air environment.
There were some amazingly innovative ways in which organisations were promoting this message, I shall never forget the hilarious presentation by Project Wild Thing's eternally funny and provocative David Bond, self styled 'Marketing Manager for Nature'.
David's suggestions around 'Brand Nature' really did make people sit up and take notice (when we weren't doubled over with laughter). Best of all was seeing video footage of David dressed as an over-sized Squirrel running around our shopping malls and train stations persuading people to get outside more.
Lots of brilliant, intelligent people and organisations all agreeing that our children need to be outside more. We saw plenty of evidence proving the benefits for their health and wellbeing, learning and play opportunities.
I was then horrified the next morning to see an article on breakfast television telling us about the forthcoming tax breaks on the computer gaming industry due in April 2013.
I couldn't quite believe it but there it was on the BBC website: "Chancellor George Osborne said he planned to introduce corporation tax relief from April 2013 for the video games, animation and high-end television industries."
I know we need to improve the UK economy but all this will do is create many, many more reasons for children to stay indoors on the sofa engaging in fantasy worlds that can lead them to normalise violence and death as well as contribute to a massive rise in obesity, adolescent mental health issues, isolation and poor social skills.
I do not want my future carer to be one who has grown up in this way - do you?
Please support the work of Project Wild Thing, the Love Outdoor Play Campaign and the many other fantastic projects working hard to release our children to grow up naturally.
Next challenge? How do we support those millions of children living far away from natural space to have similar opportunities? Let us know firstname.lastname@example.org