My son is not a glassy-eyed blob tethered to a screen. He’s an enthusiastic dynamo, and his love of manga and anime and digital cameras and computer games and PowerPoint to create his own stories has made me question if nature has become his generation’s version of castor oil. Is it really true that Nick and all other children are in a state of natural crisis? Or is this just another round of Oldsters versus Youngsters, with boomer oldsters re-claiming a familiar refrain? These kids today are going to hell in a hand basket.
After writing my recent piece titled Doubting Mother Nature, Dina Strasser stopped by and pointed me to this article questioning just how important experiences in the natural world are for today’s students.
Built as a riff off of (against?) the popular title Last Child in the Woods, it argues that a lack of connection to nature is not a problem for today’s students and that our fears of lost connections are just another example of the never-ending “oldsters versus youngsters” debate that defines generations.
While I think the author is oversimplifying the consequences attached to the digital divide (read: kids who never experience nature because they’re always plugged in), this is a counterpoint worth exploring.