A is for... Apple (not Gala or Crab though; the Mac, iPhone variety...)
B is for... Burger King
C is for... Coca Cola
D is for... Dora the Explorer OR Dunkin' Donuts
Yep, that's right. THIS is the type of modern day learn-the-alphabet graphic (see below) being used in public schools. This graphic, specifically, hails from Miller Elementary School in Houston, TX and is the winner of the September New Moon fragilis award!
The days of "I is for Igloo" and "Z is for Zebra" are behind us. Now "I" stands for iPhone and "Z" stands for Ziploc. This Alphabet graphic makes it painfully clear that today's children are dissociating from their own environments more and more. As they tune in to television, commercials, video games and iPads...they tune out to the sweet song of a chickadee in the backyard oak tree.
Overall, children's everyday life has largely shifted to the indoors over the last decades . Virtual information and vicarious experiences are progressively substituting direct and real personal experiences , , . For instance, although children are able to recognize more than a thousand corporate logos, or hundreds of Pokémons along with their virtual life history traits , they can only identify a handful of animal and plants that are native to their home environment , . In this context of growing virtualization we need to assess how these changes influence perception of local biodiversity, including knowledge and inclination to protect local environment , .
The fact that children are recognizing corporate logos and Pokémon characters more easily than indigenous animals and plants is frightening! It makes me feel extremely grateful for all of the ReWilding parents out there who are putting in the effort to immerse their children in nature-based learning (that's many of you reading this right now!).
For more on the alternative to "P is for Pop-tart" learning, check out ReWild Yourself! podcast shows with Arthur Haines on Raising Human Apes and Ben Hewitt on Unschooling Ourselves and Our Children.
Now I'd love to hear from you! ReWilding parents, what sorts of activities do you do with your children that help them connect with the natural world?
Every New Moon, we will be awarding a fragilis award to our favorite person, product, procedure, etc. that represents the deepest depths of domestication!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A FRAGILIS?
I propose a re-designation of ourselves from the currently accepted H. sapiens sapiens to the newHomo sapiens domesticofragilis — meaning wise, fragile, domesticated man. Of course, at first glance this appears tongue-in-cheek, as if I were simply making a sarcastic quip. However, closer examination of the data indicates that when compared against still intact foraging peoples, we moderns are quite fragile indeed. Be it the lack of physical robustness — a distinctly reduced ability to tolerate temperature extremes for example — or simply our tendency towards early degeneration — the diseases of civilization, i.e. diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. — modern humans are undeniably far more delicate than our ancestors. While some might argue that domesticogracilis would be more fitting, again I would assert that it is fragility that characterizes us, as gracility implies a kind of gracefulness that is not indicative of most "moderns".