Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today is Earthday, April 22, 2008. The first Earthday took place when I was in college, and I was extremely hopeful at the time that it would represent an awakening to the beauty and wonder of our small planet and usher in a time of stewardship and protection. I had greater hopes for my own generation than we were able to deliver.

So here we are about 40 years later. We have celebrated the day, but done little to serve its mission.

And so we place hopes on the young, and we keep working toward our goals. Today the Clear Spring School 1st and 2nd grade students, their teacher and I will go on a hike in the woods.

One of the important things that has changed in the last 40 years is that we now have a clear idea what happens when we completely neglect the planet on which we live. The effects range from the monumental scale of global warming to more subtle consequences for the individual children of our planet. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder inspired the "No child Left Inside" movement to increase environmental awareness. According to Louv, the effects of time spent in the wild are also very personal. He says that enjoying nature reduces kids' loneliness, depression and attention problems. It works for me, too. I feel better when I am able to spend time outdoors and I am looking forward to a walk in the woods. Happy Earthday.

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