Rewilding the American Child: Setting Kids Free in Today's Digital World
Today’s kids are caught up in one of the largest mass migrations in human history: the movement indoors. The majority of modern Americans now spend much of their lives penned in by walls, staring at screens. Increasingly, we don’t touch, look at or even speak to each other, connecting instead through apps. When we do get together, it’s for a quick coffee or play date, because who has time for anything else? At home, children see Mom and Dad thumbing away nonstop on their devices and follow suit. The result: Our youth are suffering from a rise in health problems, heightened social pressures and a frightening set of new addictions around technology.
For the editors of Outside, this dynamic represents a national crisis. Last fall, the 42-year-old magazine’s cover story, “Rewilding the American Child,” called on parents to set their kids free—from screens, from schedules, from the kind of ever-present supervision that hinders full maturation. In a collection of essays and how-to articles that was nominated for a National Magazine Award, Outside argued that today’s children desperately need opportunities to roam without adults around, play games with no winners or rules, and engage the natural world on their own terms.
This program, moderated by Outside’s Marin-based executive editor Michael Roberts, will bring these topics and more to life through the experiences of two leading figures in the movement to get children—and their parents—to spend more time outdoors. Award-winning science journalist Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, will speak about the efforts to restore the kinds of outdoor rites of passage—your first hunt, your fist fish, your first solo walk in the wilderness—that used to mark the steps on the journey to adulthood. Nooshin Razani, a pediatrician and the founder of the of the Center for Nature and Health, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland will talk about the growing trend for physicians to prescribe nature to their patients as well as her own pioneering work in helping lower-income communities access the exceptional public lands in the Bay Area.
This conversation is part of an extended series of discussions that The Commonwealth Club will present in Marin over the course of 2019 on an expanded notion of health. Future conversations will address political and democratic health, China and trade health, and creativity and physical health.
Wine and cheese available
Outdoor Art Club
One West Blithedale
Mill Valley, 94941
7 p.m. check-in
7:45–9 p.m. program