Most of those I know who fight for nature are people who spent their childhoods immersed in it.
How often have you fought for something that you never had?
Lucky to have grown up in a house backing the Toronto ravine system, my brother and I spent our childhoods exploring the forested land just beyond our back fence. We would ride our bikes along the trails with our friends, take long walks on Sunday afternoons with our family and marvel at the occasional deer that would graze in our neighbour’s backyard.
We would skate on the local rink that my dad and a few other dads maintained throughout the winter months. We would ski on the weekends that my brother didn’t have hockey tournaments. We would build snow fortresses on our front lawn.
I loved being outside. Don’t get me wrong, I liked playing N64, too. But nothing can really compare to the real world adventures of outdoor discovery and creativity.
I could go on and on with tales of how I spent a few weeks every other summer in the mountainous landscape of the Canadian Rockies eyes staring out the window in hopes of spotting a bear, mountain goat, or any other wildlife that might venture close to the road, but I think I’ve made my point: I spent a great deal of time outside growing up and now, I advocate and care deeply about our planet.
Unfortunately, trends in the last two decades have shown a steep decline in the amount of time children spend outdoors. There are many reasons for this, as outlined by writer George Monbiot in his article, “If children lose contact with nature they won’t fight for it”. But the point is simple: children growing up in concrete jungles will become increasingly less likely to fight to stop real jungles from being torn down.
A scarier thought is whether the logging, mining and oil and gas industries have already figured this out and are just biding their time until the last green generation grows old and weary of fighting against their power and influence.
The mandate of GreeninTO is not about painting apocalyptic pictures of a decrepit humanity fighting each other for freshwater – not right now at least – so parents, I have provided a few local outdoor adventure ideas:
- Send your kids to an outdoor summer camp
- Or better yet, take the family on a camping trip in one of Ontario’s beautiful parks
- Visit Evergreen Brickworks’ Children’s Garden (#8)
- Take a walk through High Park or sign your kids up for eco-summer camps in the park
- Go for a hike in or near the city: see BlogTO’s 10 Incredible Hiking Trails In and Around Toronto
- Spend a day on Toronto’s Island and let the kids run wild
- Plant a garden in your own backyard and help your kids plant their own vegetables
No matter where you go, take the time to enjoy the beauty and complexity of the nature around you; be curious. Adults need fresh air and fascinating encounters with nature too!
But most importantly, let’s give the next generation something awesome to fight for!