Young People Becoming Afraid of the Outdoors Mar 18, 2014 12:49:49 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Mar 18, 2014 12:49:49 GMT -5
Young people are becoming 'fearful' of the great outdoors
Alan Titchmarsh, the broadcaster, wants “growing things” to be made part of the national curriculum, as children and young people are becoming “divorced from the great outdoors.” Saying they were already well-versed in issues of climate change, he argued it was even more important for them to understand how the natural world works to stop them becoming “fearful.” Speaking at a South London school, he added the planet would be left in “very shaky hands” in the next generation, if nobody was left to understand it.
Titchmarsh, who is part of a Royal Horticultural Society campaign to improve the image of horticulture among young people, said there was now a troubling shortage of young people going into skilled posts.
Admitting horticulturalists had so far been “rotten” at convincing young people why the job was worthwhile, he told a group of 25 teenagers he feared they were “growing up with a great disconnection with the living world.”
“It’s not your fault,” he said. “But if you don’t understand how it works, you can become a bit fearful of it. The natural world will dwindle if you don’t take care of it.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, he added: “The more children and young people are divorced from the great outdoors the more fearful they become of it, the less understanding they have of the world outdoors. And the planet then is in very shaky hands.”
When asked what would happen if the next generation did not learn to embrace horticulture, he said: “We’re going to be in an environment which is peopled by people who don’t understand how it works, in the broadest of terms. They all know about climate change and global warming, but it’s far more important – I would have thought – for them to know what happens when you plant a seed, how to make it grow, how food is produced, how the environment is purified by plants and organisms, how our entire livelihood depends on things that grow. Without plants, this planet would disappear. Yet it seems to be more important to people to learn a foreign language. Yes that’s important, but surely it’s equally important to learn how to grow food, look after the environment and countryside.”
In 2012, an RHS survey of 100 adults found nearly three quarters of 18-year-olds did not think gardening was a career to be proud of, believing it was only for academic failures.
Representatives, including Titchmarsh and RHS director general Sue Biggs, are now visiting secondary schools including Deptford Green, in New Cross, London, in an attempt to convince teenagers otherwise.
“The problem has been that kids at school think of gardening perhaps as something their granddad does, on the allotment, and that’s it,” said Titchmarsh. “Or they perhaps perceive it as a job for someone who can’t do anything else. We wanted to show the breadth and depth of horticulture – more than 60 different careers. It’s passing on our passion and saying ‘come on in, the water’s lovely.’ We have a shortage now in horticulture. Skilled posts are getting harder to fill because people are not coming into it, thinking that it’s not a job that would suit them. We need to prove that it would. We need to get them into open spaces, we need to get schools to make horticulture a part of the curriculum. Make growing things a part of the national curriculum.”
Saying he felt positive about the enthusiastic response of students so far, he added: “When offered it, when given the chance to pick it up and run with it, children do and will. We need, as educationalists, as parents, as teachers, to give them the opportunity to get involved in it. At the moment, they don’t even have the choice and that’s criminal.”
Source: Hannah Furness, The Telegraph, March 17, 2014.