Children in the UK are losing contact with nature

According to a report in The Times newspaper of August 14, children in the UK are losing touch with nature. It is something that I would have expected. Children, nowadays, are more inclined to spend time on their smartphones and computers than outside, in a field for instance, playing with other children and becoming acquainted with nature.

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It is said that only about a fifth of children know what a bumblebee is. The statistics are startling in fact. The survey was carried out on 1000 children between the ages of five and 16. 65% of them did not know what a blue tit looked like and 51% could not identify stinging nettles, while 24% failed to pick out a conker. 23% could not identify a robin and 82% of children could not recognise an oak leaf.

I am of the older generation. I am 70 years of age. I can recognise the flora and fauna of the UK. Is not something that I particularly wanted to achieve as it came naturally to me. It’s an obvious consequence of being outside in nature when I was much younger. Back in those days children would readily be able to recognise the flora and fauna referred to in this survey.

In the survy it was found that the animals that today’s children can identify were the fox and hedgehog. 2/5 of parents put their children’s lack of knowledge down to having spent less time in nature than they had when they were children. They appear to agree that “screen time” was getting in the way of connecting with nature.

Depressingly, the survey found that 26% of children said that they had little or no interest in nature. That figure rises to 34% of children in the age bracket 11-16.

Where there is a distance between person and nature there is a poor long-term prognosis with respect to conservation. People who are disconnected from nature are insensitive to it and therefore don’t mind destroying it. It leads to the speeding up of the destruction of the habitat of wildlife. It leads to the encroachment of human settlements on the habitat and territory of wild species. A lack of sensitivity towards nature leads to its destruction so this information from the survey is disturbing. Personally, I’m quite shocked at the acute lack of knowledge, quite basic knowledge, of the flora and fauna of the UK by schoolchildren.

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