Over recent years, experts have observed that our modern lifestyle has lead to children
spending more time indoors watching television than being outside. The growing disconnect
between children and their natural world has been shown to negatively impact child
development, and may hamper a child's ability to make decisions as an adult.
In coastal watershed regions such as Guam, where global warming is creating dramatic
ecosystem changes, this "nature-deficit disorder" could significantly undermine our stewardship
of the natural resources upon which economic development and human health depend. Many
experts agree that the best way to remedy this situation is to develop a citizenry that is
The idea of improving environmental literacy and connecting children to the outdoors
through direct contact with nature should be something we can all support. New research shows
that children who go outside for hands-on learning have a better understanding of math and
science, improved self-esteem, are more motivated to learn, and experience better health through
lower rates of attention deficit disorders, obesity, stress, and depression.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has taken on the task to increase
environmental literacy in the general public. NOAA's Bay-Watershed Education and Training
Program, better known as "B-WET", and Environmental Literacy Grant Program have made
great strides in advancing ocean, atmospheric, and environmental literacy in the United States.
Our colleague from California, Congresswoman Lois Capps, introduced H.R. 3644 to
formally codify both education grant programs. These outstanding programs have a proven track
record of successful hands-on educational experiences. In addition, this legislation will expand
access to these two grant programs to island territories in the Pacific Ocean, including the island
of Guam which I am honored to represent.
I would like to thank the Congresswoman and her staff for their hard work on this bill. It
is imperative, now more than ever, that our Nation's young people not only understand the world
around them, but also how their actions affect the environment upon which we all depend. I
look forward to working with Congresswoman Capps and the other members of the
subcommittee to move this bill forward.