A child's place - why environment matters to children

A child's place - why environment matters to children

Children are a powerful symbol of the future. They provide us with a compelling reason to protect the environment. This symbolism has not been lost on policy-makers. The most widely accepted definition of sustainable development is the one used in the 1987 Brundtland report: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own needs”.
Yet despite the frequency with which they feature in environmental discourse, children have played only a passive role in the development and implementation of environmental policy.
This report argues that children’s well-being and environmental issues are inextricably linked. The worse a local environment looks, the less able children are to play freely and develop the habits and commitments that will enable them to address environmental problems in the future.
The researchers gained a detailed knowledge of the way children relate to their environment through a series of interviews and field trips led by the children themselves. What emerged was a picture of children who are frightened by many things adults take in their stride, ranging from car traffic to news bulletins about terrorism.
Children’s anxiety about their own environment is linked to poor understanding of wider environmental issues such as sustainability. This report recommends a range of measures including 'school safaris', which would link children’s learning about their local environment to green issues.
A short film was also produced to accompany this project, and is available to download.
Gillian Thomas, Guy Thompson
Publication Date:
1 May, 2004
0 9543813 5 1

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