Enhancing One Health Among Youth

We have learned over time that it is humans who are the main factor of environmental problems. Various natural disasters and diseases caused by climate changes showed that humans, animals, and nature are intertwined together. The concept of One Health reflects this perspective. One Health indicates that people’s health is closely related to animal and environmental health as well.

Since people-animal-environments affect each other, protecting animals and the environment for our well-being has become an essential notion. In this era, it is the current children who can change the future world with this perspective. Therefore, leaving a pragmatic process to naturally learn and act on the One Health concept is the role of adults and what we can do is to keep children interested in nature and animals. In this digital era, children interact with nature and animals on their devices, and are unable to feel all the senses that nature gives. They cannot naturally learn the role and importance of nature without touching actual animals and plants.

Therefore, adults should provide children with as many opportunities to experience nature as possible. It is not a nature exploration activity aimed at “education” (which is actually being conducted a lot), but a program that children can truly ‘enjoy’ without the burden of learning and memorizing something. For example, if a program provides children with the responsibility of raising plants or young animals (for example in 4-H) over several months, they would be actively engaged.

In addition, I think it is necessary to plan camps and various activities outside where children can use the natural environment as a playground and use plants as “toys.”

Many countries are already conducting similar outdoor programs, but more active promotion is needed for children who are still heavily connected to their devices, to see and experience their relationship with the natural world around them to improve the ecosystem and the human-animal-environment interconnections. 

This blog written by Da Hye Kim, FCS intern

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