Lockdown. The word and the subject which makes us all feel something different. Being locked in or up or down is unnatural. And that is exactly what this is – UN Natural – against Nature. Yes indeed, children are growing up in a very strange era. It is a very strange timeline in which to be alive.
For many of us, young and old, Lockdown came as a shock. We adjusted our lives, adapted our behaviour and used Lockdown as a time for introspection. A time to work through all those emotions which turn us into someone we rather dislike. A time to really feel those negative emotions. For many of us, Lockdown is a time for being alone and lonely.
Alone and Lonely
Lockdown = an emergency measure or condition in which people are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving a restricted area or building (such as a school) during a threat of danger OR a temporary condition imposed by governmental authorities (as during the outbreak of an epidemic disease) in which people are required to stay in their homes and refrain from or limit activities outside the home involving public contact (such as dining out or attending large gatherings).
Alone = separated from others : isolated
Lonely = being without company; cut off from others ; desolate.
These words sum up what Lockdown means to many people.
Causes and Effects
Lockdown has numerous CAUSES and EFFECTS as a human concept. In fact, Lockdown is one enormous EFFECT of a major environmental issue. The world decided to lock humans away to ensure that a contagious disease stopped in its tracks. To save humans. Not to save Nature. And yet it is all about Nature.
Humans have had plenty of time to think about Nature, and to miss Nature with all their hearts. Meanwhile, the disease is still here and it will never go away. So how long do we stay in Lockdown then? And when do we take responsibility for the damage we are doing to our Earth? How do we change things?
Covid-19 has a Message for Humans
The CAUSES of Lockdown in our global environment stem from one enormous environmental disaster with a name we all now dread to hear: the Novel Coronavirus or Covid-19. This environmental issue is about the encroachment of people into wild areas. This is no longer sustainable! It is time to stop the trade, exploitation and consumption of the wild things.
Exploitation = the use of something in order to get an advantage from it / the act of using someone unfairly for your own advantage.
” Many health experts believe that the new strain of coronavirus likely originated in bats or pangolins. Some reports trace the earliest cases back to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan…The first transmission to humans was in Wuhan, China. Since then, the virus has mostly spread through person-to-person contact. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause disease in both animals and humans….”
Global Suffering is Massive
The EFFECTS of the Lockdown are causing many more enormous environmental disasters and some of these are both negative and positive:
- world hunger and poverty
- rife unemployment
- increased depression
- increased litter in the ocean – plastic gloves and disposable masks
- increased awareness about humanity’s impacts on Nature
- over-population awareness thanks to millions of deaths worldwide
- awareness about the wildlife trade and its impacts on human health
- huge reliance on technology as people go online for work and school
- decrease in children’s health and immunity
Human Mental Issues on the Rise
Psychologists warned that Lockdown would affect children in different ways. Younger children could regress to an earlier developmental stage to feel more stable. Older kids, especially teenagers, could feel depressed due to excessive time away from their peers and too much time spent with irritating parents and siblings.
The mental well-being of all children is at stake. One vital reason for childhood depression, but one that is rarely noticed, is removal from Nature. Children who do not get outside exhibit abnormal behaviour, often reflecting a deep sadness.
Basak Karateke, a psychologist at Ufuk University in Ankara, said that changing routines amid the pandemic is a difficult situation for people of all ages.
“When we look at children, in particular, the areas they will express themselves, the people they will communicate with and the ways of communication are restricted. Numerous options such as going to school, spending time at gardens or parks with friends, going for a walk, hugging, playing games have been firstly restricted for hygiene and then in the form of home quarantine,” Karateke said.
Children Need Nature
Humans have an innate connection with Nature. This is a known fact. For centuries, people have existed within the harshness and sweetness of Nature in her wildness. In those times, humans hunted sustainably and knew which plants to eat and how to heal their illnesses using Nature’s pharmacy.
As humans progressed, however, the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and various wars all changed the way people tread on earth and feel about Nature. Making money and spending money became a survival technique. Today, the human population just keeps on growing and the new negative buzz words are capitalism, consumerism and materialism. As cities have grown and evolved, so have people moved away from Nature. Children spend so much time indoors now on technology that time in Nature has to be scheduled.
A new dis-ease, nature-deficit disorder, has been diagnosed among our sad children. Richard Louv, author of The Last Child In the Woods, wrote that this lack of time in nature, connection to the wild things, can cause “higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, a lack of imagination or intellectual insight, child and adult obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, and other maladies. All because kids stopped exploring outside in nature.”
Now schools must prioritize learning in the great outdoors to ensure children do get what they need. Teachers are realising that nature-based education stimulates learning and is good for mental and physical health.
Specific benefits of outdoor education programs:
- Increased motivation to learn
- Knowledge gains across multiple disciplines, including science and math
- Improvements in emotional and social skills, including self-esteem, character development, teamwork and leadership
- Heightened academic skills from critical thinking and analysis to problem-solving and communication
The outdoor students also developed an eye for reducing water use, increasing recycling, and greater civic engagement, the researchers say.
Many children have not been too negatively affected by the Lockdowns worldwide. Many are simply pleased to be spending time with family, in different and unique ways.
Earth kids have also been affected by the Lockdown in South Africa. We asked them what they think about Lockdown and how it has affected them personally.