Did you know that the average 8-18 year old American youth spends over 7.5 hours a day accessing entertainment media? That 71% of them has a TV in their room and 66% of them has a cell phones? Really?!
I don’t want to sound like an old fogey yapping about “the kids these days.” I get it. Being able to instantly tell thousands of your closest friends that you are eating a burrito at Ranchos with Steven Roach is cool. There is no doubt that “Googling it” is the best way to call out your buddy when he’s spouting nonsense about Tom Brady being the greatest quarterback of all time (anyone remember a guy named Joe Montana?). But over 50 hours a week? That means that the average kid makes more than a full-time job of avoiding the actual, non-digital world.
San Diego is beautiful. The sun shines over us. The hiking is epic. We just got a sweet new network of Marine Protected Areas. Enjoy them! Put down the i-phone, turn off the TV and don’t forget to shut the door on your way out. Tell junior if he wants to LOL at his friends latest OMG before Gilmore Girls comes on Youtube, that he’d better go spend some time hugging trees and rolling around in the dirt. Send them out for a surf. Spend the day at Torrey Pines. Better yet, bring them to a beach cleanup. The possibilities are endless.
We have a mantra here at San Diego Coastkeeper that asks: “Do you spend enough time enjoying the resource you help protect?” How can we fully understand the need to protect our environment if we don’t take time to experience how valuable our environment is?
The ever-increasing role of media technology and remote communication in our daily lives can create a dangerous disconnect between us and the natural world. Now more than ever we must actively maintain our relationship with nature in order to appreciate our dependence on it. More importantly, we need to teach the younger generation to do the same. The youth of today may grow up in a world where encyclopedias, travel agents and the yellow pages are obsolete. I’m cool with that. But it would be a crying shame to see that enjoying the great outdoors go out of style.
So stop reading my ramblings, lace up d’em boots, disconnect from your fancy pants wireless server and go reconnect with what matters.