Why are young people becoming less interested in environmental issues?
On the heels of news that young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources comes a very timely independent film called Play Again. It offers some possible explanations for why youth are less concerned about the environment these days. Not surprisingly, one of the main culprits is the fact that kids simply don’t spend as much time in nature as previous generations. What are the broader implications of a whole generation growing up completely disconnected from the natural world? As the film synopsis suggests, the consequences may be serious.
“The average American child now spends over eight hours in front of a screen each day. She emails, texts, and updates her status incessantly. He can name hundreds of corporate logos, but less than ten native plants. She aspires to have hundreds of online friends, most she may never meet in person. He masters complicated situations presented in game after game, but often avoids simple person-to-person conversation. They are almost entirely out of contact with the world that, over millions of years of evolution, shaped human beings — the natural world…What are we missing when we are behind screens? And how will this impact our children, our society, and eventually, our planet?
“The long-term consequences of this experiment on human development remain to be seen, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. By most accounts, this generation will face multiple crises — environmental, economic and social. Will this screen world — and its bevy of virtual experiences — have adequately prepared these “digital natives” to address the problems they’ll face, problems on whose resolution their own survival may depend?”