Yesterday I had a MAJOR Poliwood moment! Through a series of fortunate events I found myself seated at a table two feet away from the President as he addressed a crowd of150 Progressives regarding his American Jobs Act.
Sure, I’ve been to the White House before on a tour during Christmas and to see the gardens, but never had I gone there on “official business”. Needless to say I was dizzy with excitement! As some of you know in my “day life” I am a lobbyist for the National Wildlife Federation. My work revolves around trying to get our terribly obese and disconnected children to turn off their latest digital device, get off their couches, and back outdoors playing in nature. I know what you are thinking… what does connecting kids with nature and obesity have to do with jobs? Well, let me explain.
Currently children are spending on average anywhere between 7.5 to 10 hours in front of a screen and only 4-5 minutes outdoors in unstructured play. BTW that screen time does not account for their time in school. So, essentially kids are in front a glowing screen about 40-50 hours a week…enough time to hold down a full time job while their waistbands expand and their brains ooze out of their ears!
Remember playing outdoors after-school and having to come in when the street lights came on? Remember all the real world experience you developed through all the games you and your friends would make up… like Red Rover, Tag, Hide and Go Seek, Manhunt, Stick Ball, etc. Kids today don’t even know what those games are…and there are entire movements underway to get them back outdoors, like the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside campaign and my campaign, the Outdoor Alliance for Kids.
The outdoors provides kids with the opportunity for exercise and exploration…the keys to a healthy workforce. Without keen understanding of the natural world, who’s going to combat global warming? Who’s going to create the energy efficient tools of tomorrow? China will, if we don’t get our acts together.
Being in the same room with the President yesterday was amazing! Not just because he is the President and lives in a fabulous house, but because I whole hardheartedly believe in his message. He knows that cutting funding to education programs in these times of economic woe will do more damage than good. You cannot talk about creating jobs while cutting the very institution that provides the skill set for those jobs. The President gets that—Rethuglicans, not so much. With their proposed cuts to social services and critical agencies like the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency…the only thing they will be successful in reducing will be our level of success in the 21st global economy!
Going to White House was indeed fabulous, but more importantly, working to ensure that the person who occupies it has our best interest as a nation at heart is priceless!
Mr. President, I got your back!