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How Getting Kids Outside Today Will Benefit the Planet Tomorrow

06/26/2013 08:14 EDT | Updated 08/26/2013 05:12 EDT

I love the relentless energy of small, community-based projects (like those at Small Change Fund). As a grandfather, I'm particularly keen on the projects that engage kids. Our children and grandchildren are inheriting a world confronting complex environmental issues like climate change, food security and sustainable economic development -- and these will only intensify in the next decade.

International research on "nature deficit disorder," coined by Richard Louv, recognizes that children are disconnected from nature, resulting in a wide range of behavioural problems. In a country where the average Canadian spends more than 90 per cent of their time indoors, and more than six hours a day in front of screens, now is the time for action.

Getting into nature -- a park, forest or woodland -- lowers your blood pressure, anxiety and stress and boosts your immunity. "Green time" reduces anger and depression and increases energy, creativity and attention span. Nature isn't just a wonderful world for kids. It's actually crucial to their development as caring, nurturing adults.

It's vital we connect kids in Ontario with our natural world. And when we make the connection, there's an immediate impact today: a child experiences the magic of nature as they look at bugs through a magnifying glass for the first time. A child feels empowered as they make the connection between turning off the lights and climate change.

But there's also a powerful impact well into the future. A seed of change is planted in that child, too. And 10 years from now, that child will be an agent of change in our community -- someone who intensely values our natural world, is committed to environmental stewardship and takes action for clean air, fresh water, healthy and local food, and protecting the natural areas around us.

Research from around the world draws the same invigorating conclusion: time in nature makes you smarter, healthier and happier! Join Small Change Fund, and dreamers like me, and learn about how connecting a child to nature today is actually an investment in the leaders of tomorrow.

Guest Post By: David Love: Dreamer, Lifelong Environmentalist, Grandfather, Small Change Fund Donor and Advisor

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