The crisis of the current rate of habitat destruction and the increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by human activity. So while we need to address this activity we also need to examine why this is occurring.
For Teratrees, we believe the underlying cause is one of relationship. This is the relationship humans have with the planet and nature. If a person through knowledge and emotional connection has a care for nature, then the way they think and act will change.
We believe the best way to improve this relationship is with today’s school students, and to look to engage the local community where these students live.
Today’s youth learn about concepts such as global warming, but very few of them actually engage with the outdoors. This crisis was labelled ‘Nature-deficit disorder’ by the author Richard Louv and especially affects the youth of Britain and the United States. Without this valuable contact time, classroom concepts remain ‘empty’ and a relationship with nature fails to develop.
Studies show childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate with children having forgotten how to play outside and have fun. With a distancing from nature, it is seen as something foreign, to be used and to overcome for human benefit. It is from this loop of thinking that we need to break free.
Studies also show that students from all ranges of ability and those with emotional behaviour issues especially benefit from time in nature. Being with nature is naturally soothing and restorative.
With Teratrees, students launch their own tree planting campaign. They gain responsibility, knowledge of running a mini-project, experience of curriculum concepts, increased social action skills and most importantly, get their hands dirty planting trees and shrubs in their school grounds or local community. The community gets connected and involved (they fund the campaign) and have their own profile connecting to their tree. And the schools get greener and can even raise additional funds.
By running a campaign the children of today get to connect their knowledge from inside the classroom, be it Science, Geography, Maths or even Business Studies to the outdoors, building connections in their minds. With the physical act of digging in the soil, planting their own tree and working together, they build connections in their hearts. We believe this is what the future needs.