When I wrote “Where’s Rodney?” I very much wanted Black children to feel a special connection to nature. Through no fault of their own, Black children have historically been denied opportunities to explore sparkling and splendid natural environments. Beautiful parks and sprawling forests that offer immersive sensory experiences have been placed off-limits. Even in their own neighborhoods, authentic green areas may be scarce or non-existent.
Children who spend quality time in tranquil green spaces enjoy benefits that are almost too numerous to mention. Research on the question has been fairly extensive, and it has shown that kids who have regular access to safe and clean natural oases are able to develop their physical, social, intellectual, and creative talents and capacities to a higher level than their less fortunate peers. They also enjoy added protection from chronic diseases and experience less stress in their lives overall.
Black and Brown children who’ve been tragically separated from the natural world are spiritually malnourished, and this is a direct result of societal neglect. If we make wiser choices based on empathy and a sense of responsibility, we can change the situation for the better. Nature is medicine for the soul and the spirit, and it awaits our children’s return.