Friday, June 20, 2008

Nature Study and Environmentalism

Many times I receive comments on this blog that I do not publish. It is amazing how many people feel the need to criticize my personal thoughts about nature and being a mother. I don't know why they bother to read my blog if they feel so angry about the encouragement to families to spend more time outdoors.

One recent commenter felt that even doing things like picking berries and building forts was abusing nature. Yes, you heard me, he felt berry picking apparently is one way that humans "exploit" nature. I had to scratch my head at that one.

One commenter felt that it doesn't matter how much we expose our children to nature at a young age, some will grow up to be "developers of land" and actually want to build a house out of wood no matter what. That is weird logic to me but I guess we all are welcome to have our own opinion. I personally live in a house made from wood but I truly have a great appreciation and respect for the natural world, trees included. Owning a house made from wood does not make me anti-nature. (Isaiah 65:21)

I approach the whole idea with a different point of view. My experience has been that the more we connect our children and ourselves with nature outside our own doors, the more chance there is that they will develop a love for God's creation. My point in spending our time each week outdoors is not to make my children into environmentalists; it is to bring them to a better understanding of the Creator, the world they live in and to provide opportunities for them to learn how to be more confident and skilled in being outdoors.

In real life, I am the most eco-friendly person you can imagine. We hung up our water skis for kayaks and a canoe. We ride our bikes and walk whenever possible. Most vacations are to national parks where we camp and hike and take photos. I recycle *everything* and use thrift shops and garage sales and ebay whenever possible. I hang my laundry outside to dry whenever possible. We no longer use paper napkins or paper bags. I pack my husband's lunch each day in reusable containers. We use the library and don't subscribe to a newspaper. My car is just about ten years old. I have read The Green Book and have implemented lots of the suggestions that I had never heard of trying before. You get the idea. :)

So this post is sort of a response to those that are taking shots at my "get out into nature" approach to helping homeschooling families. I don't dispute that there are things we all could do to have less impact on the environment. But I also know that the key to making this situation better is to keep on adventuring into the woods, hills, oceans, deserts, gardens, parks, and our own backyards as much as we can with our children. The more we get to know what is around us and under our noses, the more likely we are to develop a respect and awe for it.

Feel free to comment as much as you wish but if you are just going to criticize and not explain your solutions, please know I will not publish your comments. The focus of this blog is to share our family's experiences in nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study. If I encourage others along the way to start down the path with their own families using the Outdoor Hour and any other means of nature study, I have been successful. This was meant to be a positive experience for all who are involved. Debating methods is not constructive.

Thank you to everyone else that leaves notes and ideas that are constructive and upbuilding. I truly appreciate your time and energy and positive words.

It's summer! Get outdoors a little each day!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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