Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Green Hour

EcoAlert from American P.I.E.
Title: The Green Hour
12 November, 2008

The National Wildlife Federation is prompting people to sign a petition asking the U.S. Surgeon General to endorse a Green Hour for all Americans The Green Hour, a daily hour spent outside in unstructured play and interaction with Nature, promotes a connection to the environment and, in turn, fosters an ethic respecting Mother Earth. Research demonstrates that ecologistic and moralistic attitudes toward the environment correlate strongly with observing Nature on television, talking about the environment, and reading about the environment. These findings come as no surprise at a time when knowledge and experience of the natural world is derived principally from multimedia and the mall.

Watching TV and shopping rank one and two as America's leisure activities of choice. The amount of time that children spend outdoors has declined by 50 percent over the last two decades. Rather than heading out for wild places, even in their own backyards, children experience the wild via television, educational films, mall exhibits and computers. Learning about Nature can be accomplished without ever touching feet on the soil of Earth. The National Wildlife Federation notes that children spend 44.5 hours a week looking at some type of electronic screen. Little wonder that childhood obesity has become an alarming health issue. As America¹s chief health educator, the Surgeon General is in a position to urge action and begin educating people about the health benefits of getting outdoors, if only for the daily Green

Television, specifically, has become our eye into the wonders of Nature. The natural world, however, is often represented as artifice - an advertisement that takes you to Nature either in vocabulary or image - or as Nature apart from the human species - videos that collapse wildlife scenes into unreal portrayals, hardly ever peopled, hardly ever urban, often focusing on remote corners of the globe. What's missed is the fact that people, too, belong to natural, biotic communities. We have an ancient biological heritage; natural and human communities are inextricably bound together and their health, above all, depends upon our recognition of that fact. The Green Hour can serve as a reminder. Sign the National Wildlife Federation petition

As long as Nature remains out there as a vague construct, there can be no fully rooted commitment to preserving it. Instead, we will continue on a path of destruction which relies increasingly on prosthetic devices, products of our biological genius, to keep ourselves and the biosphere alive. We have already severely tested Earth¹s fragility, and now we should step gently into the wild, if only for an hour.

Act today on this EcoAlert, and thank you for your environmental responsibility.

American P.I.E.
Public Information on the Environment, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
P.O. Box 676
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Telephone: 1-800-320-APIE(2743); fax 507-645-5724
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