Ohio Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights
The Disconnect from Nature and It's Impacts
In just 50 years, childhood has changed dramatically. In the not-so-distant past, childhood was dominated by self-directed activities outdoors, such as bike riding, walking to a stream, store or playground, and exploring the neighborhood. As we think back on our own lives growing up, favorite memories revolve around free play, summer camp, or other outdoor activities. Many recall building forts, making up games and being on the move “until the streetlights came on” and it was time to go home.
Screen time and other sedentary activities seem to have wrested the curiosity, wonder and physical activity from modern childhood. Technology and entertainment have their place and undoubtedly have made many aspects of life easier, but an important part of childhood seems to have been swept away by it, without our even noticing. And, many of today’s children are unable to access safe, natural spaces in which to play. For a variety of reasons, today’s children spend less time in nature than any generation in all of human history. This is true of all children, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status or whether they live in an urban or rural environment. Only recently have we begun to learn the cost of this sudden shift in lifestyle. Ohioans are paying dearly, in the form of a host of childhood ills that continue into adulthood.
As a result, Ohio leaders are now standing together in a deliberate effort to ensure that today’s children receive the same benefits that all of the generations before them received from the simple act of being in the natural world, free to play.
Read more of:
The Report on Ohio's Initiative to Reconnect Children with Nature (pdf)
Read Governor Strickland's Proclamation (pdf)