Get out with the kids this Spring! Global attention on 'Kids Outdoors' for World Parks Week 2019
Celebrating the vital role of parks in creating healthy, liveable and thriving communities, World Parks Week will run this year from 27 April to 04 May. Aiming to communicate the values and benefits of parks, and encourage people to get outside and enjoy their local green spaces, this is the initiative of World Urban Parks in collaboration with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and #NatureForAll, among others. Many of us know that visiting parks makes us feel good. It’s scientifically good for our health, too, reducing risk of chronic disease and boosting our recovery from illness and injury. This year, the attention is focused on children, with the theme, ‘Kids Outdoors’.
Growing up in contact with nature “provides countless essential resources for an optimal level of emotional and physical health and well-being, especially for child development from a very early age, stimulating the senses, increasing powers of observation, reasoning and analysis, and reducing the risk of childhood obesity, certain pneumonic diseases and other pathologies that affect children in particular”, states an IUCN resolution document from their major international meeting in 2016. This follows their 2012 resolution for the ‘Child’s right to connect with nature and to a healthy environment’, convinced that “[it] is of such a fundamental importance for both children and the (future of) the conservation of nature and the protection of the environment, that it should be recognized and codified internationally as a human right for children…since it contributes positively to the valuation and conservation of nature and to the realization of existing children’s rights – such as the right to life and development, health, an adequate standard of living and the right to engage in play.” Links between human rights and the environment have been recognised in several United Nations policy instruments such as the Rio Declaration (1992), noting, “The creativity, ideals and courage of the youth should be mobilized to forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and ensure a better future for all.”
Nathan Roberts, founder of Why Conserve and Conservation Scotland says, “It is absolutely apparent that children care about nature and the environment – just look at the school climate strikes this year.” He continues, “In 2013, I distinctly remember watching the film, ‘Project Wild Thing’, which documents filmmaker David Bond calling parents everywhere to help their children re-connect with nature. Intellectual, honest, and edge-of-the-seat, goose-bump-raising, and raw adrenaline-inducing, I found myself watching and egging this man on in his mission. You must watch it! And we’ve come a long way since then.” During World Parks Week in Scotland there are several organised activities which are free, open to all, and good for nature, including bird surveys and conservation activities for frogs and other amphibians – dates at www.conservationscotland.uk. If you on social media, share your park stories on Twitter with @whyconserve, #WorldParksWeek and #NatureForAll. The World Urban Parks’ Children, Play and Nature Policy Statement, underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, is available at http://wup.imiscloud.com.
Thanks, World Urban Parks. Now I would like to…