Our culture is more than half-way through raising a generation of frequent [persistent] screen users; many of whom do not regularly experience nature. "The Screen" has long been creeping into the majority of time spent by a kid; with current accessibility of screen-induced-entertainment creeping out the need, or desire to have quality experiences outside.
A decade from now, how much value these screen users will put on environmental issues is anyone's guess. My fear is environmental issues, and the value of nature will be of little concern because too few of these decision-makers have ever had a connection to nature.
Not all will be legislators, but ALL will make decisions; from voting for candidates who support or oppose environmental protection to deciding how much weed killer [poison] to spray on the lawn.
In many ways, these kids are decision makers already; choosing whether or not to let the water run full-open while brushing their teeth, or to spend money on a new XBOX Game, or save it for a bicycle.
As parents wishing for a better world for our children, we NEED to take action to encourage a connection to nature.
It does not take much to connect to nature. A "wild" backyard or local park to explore for caterpillars is enough to connect to nature's richness. Playing for hours in the snow reminds one that cold is just temporary. (and is worth the effort to get hot chocolate afterwards!) Taking a family vacation that involves travels without a DVD player teaches a kid to not only figure out how to deal with impatience, but to understand how big the world is between point A and point B. A small garden with blooming flowers to cut "for mom" is priceless.
You don't have to take your kids tent camping, or to Old Faithful (though, really, why wouldn't you?). Regular hikes through the closest State, or County park can offer a refreshing look into the beauty of nature. Yet, if that is still too much effort, simply encourage your child to lie beneath a tree that sits right outside your door - just for a little quiet time without those annoying beeps, blips, buzzers, and bells that interrupt one's ability to listen for the voice inside. The voice that informs of one's mission and purpose in life. Quiet time that helps one to problem-solve an issue that's been so troubling lately.
Not every kid is going to become the next Jacques Cousteau, or Kratt brother. Heck, some may not even enjoy nature. But at least they will have a connection to it; a connection that someday will help them to understand why some people love the environment, and are passionate about protecting it. And those that DO have a positive connection with nature will be well on their way to help shape their next generation.