'Look ma, I'm all grown-up now!'

'Look ma, I'm all grown-up now!'

 He loves the idea of using the outdoors to shape the minds and bodies of youngsters. In a Q&A, the expert tells us about the potential of the outdoors.

What is the big change that comes about in kids when they come back from nature camps?
Camps bring change in children. Sustainability depends on reinforcement of changed behaviour at school or at home. One of the key things that really does sustain is that they become independent, respect nature and also understand their relationships with people better. Nature provides a great learning environment for reflection as it inspires “awe and wonderment”; children realise they are part of a system and not independent of it.

The relevance of appreciating nature is obvious: without nature, we would not have any GDP! But how do kids see nature? Surely, they don’t see GDP like some cynical adults!
For many children today, it’s about experiencing things for the first time. It could be being bitten by a leech or touching a snake or being stung by stinging nettles or using cow dung to make a fire. Camps make children ‘engage’ with nature rather than just observe nature. This helps break many myths about nature, for instance, “snakes are slimy” or “leech bites are painful”.

What is the philosophy we need to adopt so that children internalise the benefits of environmental preservation?
When children see practical stuff being done on camp like a utensil washing system that uses less water, segregation of waste into bio-degradable and non–degradable at source and their treatment, use of CFL bulbs or solar lanterns, a plastic bottle inside the flush tank to lessen the amount of water used every time we flush, they realise the importance of saving scarce resources.
AK

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