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Close the Laptop and Discover the Outdoors

Close the Laptop and Discover the Outdoors

by Tanya Cook
NorthTec Conservation and Environmental Management Tutor
26 February 2014

Make the most of the remaining summer days and take your children, nieces, nephews and mokopuna out in the amazing outdoors. We live in a beautiful country and I hope it stays this way for my great grandchildren to enjoy. In fact I hope it is even better!

What if they could go out into their backyard and see kiwi foraging for worms? What if they could swim in the town basin? What if they didn’t have to worry about the price of petrol or the world’s oil supply running out because their mode of transport was powered by renewable sources of energy?

But how do we get there?

Many people live their day to day life not thinking about where things come from or where things end up. Where does our waste go when we flush the toilet? What goes into making a flat white? Where did the milk come from? What about the coffee? Think of all the transport required - there goes another barrel of oil! Did you know oil takes millions of years to form? Not to mention all the materials gone into producing the cup and the time it takes for a cup to rot away in a landfill. Paper takes from a month to twenty years but polystyrene can take hundreds of years to break down! I won’t even get started on the damage possums, stoats, rats and their allies are doing to our native birds and plants – that’s for another day!

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Don’t give up! There is hope.

There are groups of dedicated people out there educating our children – the decision makers of the future - about the environment. Teachers, Enviroschools and Te Aho Tū Roa, Council and DOC staff, Iwi authorities, Eco-solutions, Experiencing Marine Reserves, Whitebait Connection and more are part of this education. At NorthTec, our Conservation and Environmental Management students learn about the importance of educating children in, about, and most importantly, for the environment.

But what about you? What are you teaching the children in your life? Give it a go and turn off the TV, shelve your iPad, hide your phone in your pocket. Yes you can do it!

Throw on a hat and plant some vegetables with your children. Build a compost bin, pick up some rubbish from the beach, ride or walk to school, go for a bush walk, hunt for insects and watch their faces glow with discovery and awe. If your kids go out in the woods today, they might get a big surprise. And so will you.

If you want to learn more about conservation and environmental management jump on one of the courses offered at NorthTec: www.northland.ac.nz/Programmes/Applied-Environmental-Science.aspx

ENDS

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