Not only are older generations lamenting that kids obsessed with their digital screens are missing out on human connections, but there’s a legitimate worry that children also will miss out on connections with the wilderness.
At least that’s the concern of iconic artist, environmentalist and naturalist Robert Bateman. The B.C. resident is giving a talk at Clearwater secondary on Friday as the bookend to a season designed to build interest in establishing Wells Gray provincial park as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
How we relate to the wild has been a focus of the Wells Gray discourse over the summer, and Bateman doesn’t mince words over the state of Canada’s wilderness.
“We are now confronting a juggernaut,” Bateman told The Daily News earlier this week in his reference to our culture’s obsession with everything digital.
That juggernaut will result in a detachment from nature that is likely unprecedented among humans.
Without familiarity and knowledge of nature, how will the future of the outdoors be viewed by future generations? Will they look at the wonder of majestic trees, cascading waterfalls and skittish wildlife with indifference? Or will they even see them at all?
Anyone who has seen a child let loose in the wild will see a child who has come alive with an energy that can’t be duplicated in the sterile, temperature-controlled confines of the home or mall. With fewer camping trips, day hikes or a lack of a curiosity in nature, the fate of its protection — and use — by Canadians may never be the same again.
The sure-fire way to ensure protection of Canada’s wild is to foster an appreciation of nature among children. Once they appreciate the delicate balance between humans and wilderness, future generations will work to keep alive the appreciation instilled in children from a younger age.
Bateman obviously sees our forests for the trees, and the rest of us should as well.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.