Video: the Words Still Missing from Children’s Dictionaries

Candice Gaukel Andrews April 13, 2017 1

The 10,000-entry “Oxford Junior Dictionary” cut approximately 50 words connected with nature in favor of more interior words, such as “broadband” and “chat room.”

The war on nature words that’s been going on for the last few years is still hot and raging. From a state’s banning the use of the phrase “climate change” in 2015 from its official statements and publications to the very recent scratching of the term from the White House website, it’s clear that we’re in a communication conflagration.

What may be even more dangerous are the insidious attacks on our children’s exposure to nature education. Climate change and environmental science studies are disappearing from school curriculums and nature expressions are vanishing from dictionaries at a rate that almost exceeds the rapidly rising temperatures due to climate change.

A recent video titled Indoor Epidemic, shown below and created for the allergy medicine Claritin, illustrates this fact. And, I’m proud to say, a Good Nature Travel post that I wrote in 2009 served as inspiration for its production. You can read that article here.

It’s estimated we Americans still spend a whopping 95 percent of our time indoors, even though there’s a long list of health benefits that come from being outside, including more creative, sharp thinking and anti-cancer protein stimulation. So, in conjunction with the video, Claritin is sponsoring a campaign called “Be an Outsider.” The goal is to get all of us to spend 1 percent more of our time outdoors, or about 20 minutes per day.

A generation ago, 40 percent of children regularly played in natural areas, compared to 10 percent today, with a further 40 percent never playing outdoors.

I also urge you to get outside more and take your children with you. Teach them the words for the things you find “out there”; the wonderful discoveries that they’ll no longer find the words for in their dictionaries. Then post a photo of your family-friendly, outdoor moment to your public profile on Instagram or Facebook between April 4 and June 30, 2017. For every photo that’s labeled with both #BeAnOutsider and #Claritin, the company will donate $5 (up to $50,000) to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In 2009, I wrote a post hoping that things would get better regarding our nature vocabulary. Here, in 2017, I can’t say that they have. Nature words and terms—for adults and children—aren’t multiplying; more and more of them go missing in action every day.

Please don’t let these MIA “warrior words of nature” be forgotten.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

One Comment »

  1. Thomas Sawyer April 13, 2017 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Thanks, Candy!

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