Sunday, October 23, 2011

Poll Sugests Kids Need to Get Outdoors and Play!

There is a growing disparity between the time kids spend indoors wired to technology and the time they spend outside enjoying nature. The vast majority of today’s kids use a computer, watch TV, or play video games on a daily basis, but only about 10 percent say they are spending time outdoors every day, according to a new nationwide poll from The Nature Conservancy.

Sign the PledgeWhy? Lack of access to natural areas and discomfort with the outdoors are two primary factors identified by the Conservancy’s poll.

The poll was conducted from July 28 through August 4, and asked 602 kids between the ages of 13 and 18 about their attitudes toward nature, outdoor activity and environmental issues.

The bipartisan polling team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R) conducted the poll, which was funded by The Toyota USA Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Foundation for Youth Investment.

The poll found a wide range of reasons kids don't spend more time outside. However, in the face of record-breaking temperatures across much of the country this past summer, discomfort from heat and bugs topped the list of obstacles youth cited for not spending time outdoors:
  • 80 percent said it was uncomfortable to be outdoors due to things like bugs and heat
  • 62 percent said they did not have transportation to natural areas, and
  • 61 percent said there were not natural areas near their homes.
Three quarters of the respondents reported they had little if any access to nature through their schools.

Exposing kids to nature is a crucial step to getting kids to care about environmental issues, the poll finds. Those with personal, positive experiences with nature were twice as likely to view themselves as strong environmentalists and were significantly more likely to express concern about water issues, air pollution, climate change and the overall condition of the environment.

Despite their lack of access to nature, America’s youth do have an over-riding concern with environmental issues and – most importantly – are optimistic that their generation can find solutions to the world’s toughest environmental problems.

Featured ImageThe majority also stated that previous generations have damaged the environment and left it to their generation to fix. Roughly 76 percent of youth today strongly believe issues like climate change can be solved if action is taken now. They also think safeguarding important lands and waters should be a priority regardless of any ancillary benefits and the struggling economy.

The poll suggests that the best way to get kids more involved in nature may be through peer pressure – 91 percent said that if a friend encouraged them to spend more time outdoors they would listen.

This poll is a snapshot of US kids today, and there is a lot to be learned by it.  Let's do our part to help get our kids moving, active and outdoors.  It's the healthy thing to do!

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