by Jacqueline Ostfeld, Sierra Club's National Youth Representative
Just moments ago, President Obama unveiled a new report “America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations” that officially launches a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda. Back in April, the President called on his administration to gather input from the American people, especially youth, to learn about the barriers and solutions to land conservation and reconnecting young people with the outdoors. From Outdoor Nation in New York City to a series of youth roundtables taking place across the country, youth turned out in numbers to inform the discussion.
Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors would like to thank all of the youth who contributed to this report and President Obama for issuing such an important call to action. Today’s young people are increasingly detached from the natural world. Research shows that today’s kids spend half as much time outdoors as did their parents when they were younger. In fact, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that today youth are spending about 7.5 hours each day (outside of school) “plugged in” to electronic devices – that doesn’t leave much time for getting outdoors to enjoy and explore the natural world.
The America’s Great Outdoors report outlines a plan for reconnecting Americans with the outdoors. The report will establish and promote a 21st century Conservation Service Corps to get young people involved and trained in land and water conservation and will support improved access and opportunities for recreation on public lands. The agenda also calls for a new urban parks and community green spaces initiative that will help bring outdoor experiences to our most populated areas, so that people from all walks of life can connect with nature. The report emphasizes the need for improved coordination among federal agencies and the establishment of a framework for engaging non-governmental partners in the mission to conserve our lands and sustainable recreation opportunities for generations to come.
The report also contains a whole section on Youth. Check it out!
Thanks to all the youth leaders across the nation who contributed to this report and to all the young people who will participate in its implementation with local, national and global solutions for conservation and reconnecting people with the outdoors.
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