Economy, Children, and the Great Outdoors... Say What?!

One of the challenges I've encountered while in a rural area is the lack of internet reliability.

This has both benefits and drawbacks. Here's a great example I encountered that's still extraordinarily fresh:

I was unable to read my normal online news, which would alerted me to the fact that last week was GO Week.

Now that I do know that it was GO Week, I don't have to worry about being distracted and lured away from outside activities... next year.

Now that I've said this, you're probably asking yourself, "What the heck is this GO Week she's referring to?"

Valid question.  I'd be asking the same.  

GO stands for Great Outdoors.  Great Outdoors week, as you've probably already guessed, is a week devoted to... well... going out and having fun in the great outdoors.  It also focuses on a central topic.

GO Week 2013 centered around "Conservation and the Outdoor Economy."
"Built on the conservation infrastructure of our nation’s protected public lands and America’s love of these special places, the outdoor economy is one of our nation’s strongest economic segments. Moreover, conserving the future of America’s Great Outdoors addresses larger economic issues, and plays a critical role in the ongoing health of our communities especially with young people." (source)
Naturally, I focused on the 'especially with young people' part.  The combination of children's health and the economy was intriguing.  How do the two relate?  I mean, obviously, the children will handle our economy in the future, but how does that relate to 'the ongoing health of our communities', and how does that apply to the environment?

I can come up with several conjectures here, but what do others have to say?  Specifically, what do those that focus on both children and the great outdoors have to say about it?

You guessed it! 

I went to my beloved Children and Nature Network to get an answer.  Upon reaching C&NN, I discovered a news snippet that led to a piece written by Christopher Mulligan of Huff Post Green, entitled, Great Outdoors America Week: Replacing Screen Time with Green Time

Mulligan reminisced about his childhood, much of which was spent playing outdoors.  He then mentioned something many of us like to forget:  Children are spending less time outside, and more time inside.

On their phones,

their computers,

the television.

The list goes on, but one thing is remarkably clear, and he saw it clearly.  We need to get outdoors as a family.  We need to focus on physical activities, be they chores or fun games.  We need to change this growing trend that will only harm their futures, as well as our own.

You may recall a previous entry of mine, in which I discussed the correlation between time spent in nature and increased creativity.  Let's look at that as it relates to the economy.  Creativity leads to innovation.  Innovation leads to progress.  Progress, in turn, leads to jobs.  Jobs fuel the economy.

And all of that, just because we allow our children to do what comes naturally:
Play in the dirt and create anything they need by using what is around them.

I mean, think about it.  

Is it really necessary to watch a movie in which a princess is saved from the evil queen when a child can simply create a princess using sticks, cast a parent as the queen, and cast him or herself as the princess's savior?

Let's face it.  We'd all prefer to be the hero rather than watch some other person do something heroic.  Why would children be any less inclined to prefer it?  If we keep children inside and occupy their time with technological devices, we're taking that away from them.

We need to give that back.

My loss of internet reliability was a great way to begin that process.  I may have missed GO Week, which ran from June 24-27 in Washington, D.C., but the decrease in technology use that accompanied that loss has ensured I've begun to take those steps naturally.

And really, GO Week should become GO Year... or even GO Life!

Don't ignore it simply because you didn't know about it on the given days.  Make the great outdoors a part of every week.  Get out there and do some gardening.  Take a hike.  Go swimming! 

Life is what you make it.  Make yours naturally wonderful!