From children’s books to television shows, movies and news, American children often hear negative information or see dystopic images of the future of our natural world. Renowned children and nature author Richard Louv suggests a new direction, and the American people agree.
“We have a choice. If we see only an apocalyptic future, that’s what we’ll get, or close to it,” said Louv. Instead, he suggests we “imagine a society in which our lives become as immersed in nature as they are in technology, every day, where we live, work, learn and play, a future in which our intelligence and creativity, our ability to feel and be fully alive is enhanced by more frequent contact with the natural world.”
As Americans head into summer, and the opportunity to spend more time in nature, ecoAmerica decided to ask them what they think about the subject. The June 2017 American Climate Perspectives Survey found that over nine in ten Americans agree, with well over half of them strongly agreeing, that we should talk about a future we want – with thriving, healthy nature – when talking to children about nature.
Results spanned political affiliation – children, nature and a positive narrative is a common ground issue and value set. By shifting our vision and communications we can help ensure our children are optimistic about the future, more excited about spending time in nature, and more willing and inspired to protect it for future generations.
Two-thirds of Americans and well over half of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats strongly agree spending time in nature is important for children’s physical and mental health. Not only do Americans see how children’s health relies on nature, but a growing majority believe we have a moral responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy climate for our children.
ecoAmerica designed and fielded this survey. It was conducted online from May 30 – June 1, 2017 using Survey Monkey. The nationally representative sample of 807 adults was drawn from an online panel and respondents were screened to be over the age of 18 residing in the United States. The margin of error for the sample is +/-3.5%. In interpreting survey results, all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error; that is, the results of a survey may differ from those, which would be obtained if the entire population were interviewed. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of responses to a particular question. For example, if 50% of respondents in a sample of 900 respondents answered, “Yes” to a particular question, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage will fall within 3.5 points, or from 46.5% to 53.5%.
Speiser, M., and Fery, P. (2017). ecoAmerica American Climate Perspectives: June 2017. Common Ground: Nine in Ten Americans Agree We Should Speak To Our Children About A Future That Has Thriving, Healthy Nature. ecoAmerica. Washington, D.C.
For more information contact Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica Chief Engagement Officer at meighen@ecoAmerica.org