After reading an article in BBC Wildlife Magazine, I was extremely saddened to realise that so many young people in my generation have no idea how to identify even the most common of wildlife species. As Chris Packham explained, there is simply not enough in the curriculum which focuses on species identification. Nowadays, in a world of screens, so many children would rather sit glued to the television instead of wonder at the natural beauty that lies just beyond their front door. I remember in great detail how my mum took me out on walks as a child, just as her father had done for her. It is thanks to an early introduction to wildlife that I now know so many species of bird and wildflower. Undoubtedly, it is my inherited exposure to wildlife that has made me so passionate about it. The same cannot be said for those children who have been deprived of this, and know no better than to sit on the Xbox until called for dinner.
There are so many ways that natural history can be taught in schools, and yet it fails to be important for so many people. I currently study A2 level Biology, and when we reached the Ecology section in the syllabus, a series of groans echoed around the room. Young people are simply not interested in nature.
I don’t think people understand the importance of future generations taking an interest in natural history. Without their input, how can what is left of the natural world be protected when the current generation of avid naturalists are long gone? Information needs to be passed on if struggling species are to claw their way back from the brink. I think that for many, the welfare of our planet’s flora and fauna simply isn’t important. Why care for animals when so many humans are suffering? This is of course a valid argument, and I appreciate that if I were a starving child living on the streets I may think differently. However, in such drastic times sacrifices need to be made. There are more than seven billion people on planet Earth, and a mere three thousand tigers. It may sound harsh, but for me the emphasis should be on protecting the minority species, and I don’t believe that will ever be mankind.