Modern life has its benefits, of course, but also costs – most notably in the increasing distance it’s put between us and the natural world. Many of us grew up thinking of nature as something totally separate from human life. Today’s technology often widens the gap as we live increasingly mediated lives, tethered to our devices.
Is it any wonder, then, that, collectively, we’ve done a less-than-stellar job of taking care of our environment? If you don’t feel or even perceive any connection to the natural world, can you really be expected to respect it, let alone act as a good steward, even as our climate crisis demands we take action?
Fortunately, we don’t have to continue on that trajectory. We can – indeed, must – change course. While this involves a wide array of actions, we believe one of the most profound, influential, and enduring is to help reconnect youth with nature so they develop a sense of environmental stewardship, helping the natural world thrive even as it helps us thrive.
It’s About Relationships
Hearing about environmental destruction can be scary and stressful for anyone, but especially children. Sometimes, as was the case with activist Greta Thunberg, those feelings can be channeled into action. But “fight” is only one possibility in the face of stress. Many instead react with “flight” or inertia (“freeze”).
Because of this, we believe we can accomplish more by appealing to children’s natural (if you will) interest in exploring the natural world – observing its movements, such as the play of ocean waves or the wonder of some flowers opening their petals in the morning and closing them at night; collecting treasures such as rocks and leaves just because they’re cool; instinctively interacting and bonding with animals they meet.
When we facilitate and encourage kids’ outdoor explorations, we help them create what can become a lifelong loving relationship with the Earth. We are moved to take good care of that which – and those who – we love.
From Vision to Action
This is why we’re pleased to be finally rolling out our new environmental education curriculum, Earth Warriors. More than 10 years in the making, it aims to help reconnect our youth with nature and help them become good stewards of the only home we have (visions of colonizing the moon or Mars notwithstanding).
Developed by Leah Shuyler and Lynea Gillen, the Earth Warriors curriculum outlines, step-by-step, how to cultivate Love, Knowledge, and Action through dozens of practical, playful activities and lesson plans. Blending yoga, ecopsychology, mindfulness, storytelling, art, and simple inquiries into a unique format, Earth Warriors teaches students environmental awareness through their bodies, senses, and emotions.
Activities and lesson plans are categorized under the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. This framework provides a simple and effective way to conceptualize activities, provide experiential learning, and adapt activities to different ages, abilities and settings, including classrooms, camps, yoga studios, homes, and more. The activities also meet many K-8 health, science, and physical education standards and can be combined with other curricula.
We hope you’ll join us for our book launch and inaugural workshop on Saturday, October 23 – a live, online event that will introduce you to the primary features and practices of the Earth Warriors curriculum. Each registrant will receive a copy of Earth Warriors, along with our foundational text, Yoga Calm for Children.
Can’t make the live event? No worries. Registration also gives you access to the recorded version of the workshop, which you can watch at your convenience.
Just want the curriculum itself? Copies will be available for purchase in our online store.
Complete details about the October 23 workshop are available here.
Middle image by Crystal E Zobel, via Wikimedia Commons
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