According to a new study only one in five British children have a connection with nature. This is the first time a study has been conducted to find out just how connected children in the UK are to nature.
The study was conducted over three years and funded by the RSPB. The results suggest that just 21% of kids in the UK have a level of connection to nature that can be thought of as being ‘realistic and achievable’ for all children.
The RSPB thinks the greatest threat to nature in the UK is the lack of contact children have with the natural world and wildlife, with the results of the report only confirming those fears.
The survey results suggest there are statistically significant differences between the connection children have with nature at the national level as well as between girls and boys in UK rural and urban homes.
In May a number of conservation organisations including the RSB released suggests that 60 per cent of species in the wild that have been studied have seen population declines in the last few decades. The RSPB thinks that ensuring children feel a connection to nature will mean that positive attitudes to wildlife develop.
“This report is ground-breaking stuff. Millions of people are increasingly worried that today’s children have less contact with nature than ever before, but until now there has been no robust scientific attempt to measure and track connection to nature among children in the UK, which means the problem hasn’t been given the attention it deserves. Nature is in trouble, and children’s connection to nature is closely linked to this. The recent State of Nature report shows that nature in the UK is being lost at a dramatic rate. We can all take action to put nature back into childhood, to ensure young people have better lives and a better future. For the first time, we have created a baseline that we and others can use to measure just how connected to nature the UK’s children really are. By adopting this new approach, we can all monitor children’s connection and we are recommending that governments and local authorities take action to increase it through policy and practice decisions.” Dr Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive said
Over the last ten years, a huge amount of research has been conducted to determine the benefits children derive when they have contact with the outdoors and nature. Benefits include improved education, better physical health and kids are thought to have better social and personal skills as well as emotional well being.
The RSPB thinks all actors ranging from individuals, organisations and governments play a role in connecting kids to nature. As a result the RSPB has signed up to The Wild Network which connects organisations with one another as it seeks to connect kids with the natural world by having them play outside.