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Knot interested: Only one in five young Brits can tie a knot and half say they can't climb trees

05/03/2012

Survey by npower reveals two in five (37%) young Brits don’t care about the environment and modern youngsters lack a variety of simple life skills

Today, research by npower has unveiled that modern day youngsters are disconnected from the great outdoors, with many unable to build a camp fire (78%), put up a tent (79%) or even tie their shoe laces (45%). When asked if they cared about the environment, more than a third (37%) said no and, incredibly, half of those (52%) said that it’s because ‘in the future we’ll be able to live in space’.

The figures show that while young people are able to search for clips on YouTube (37%) they’d struggle to search for the local post office by reading a map (81%), and while they may be able to work a DVD player (67%) a huge 87% said they wouldn’t know how to repair a bicycle puncture.

The research indicates that today’s youths have lost their sense of adventure and lack skills, which older generations take for granted. Nine out of ten youngsters (91%) are unable to recognise different types of butterfly and 43% cannot remember seeing the stars in the last month.

The lack of interest in the great outdoors is a worry for many parents, with more than seven in ten (77%) saying their child spends too much time watching TV or playing video games. Four fifths (80%) even said they feel they need to do more to encourage their children to learn traditional skills, but the statistics show that not enough is being done to make a difference.

Survival expert and founder of Woodlore, Ray Mears, comments: “The latest figures are really shocking and I can’t believe our young people are so ill-equipped when it comes to practical skills.

“When I was growing up, I was told ‘You don’t need equipment, you need knowledge to survive in the wild’ and this is something that I truly believe. Simple skills like putting up a tent can teach you important lessons that can’t be learnt without doing them yourself. You learn how to work in a team and communicate with your peers; how to work under pressure and use logic and, most importantly, how to look after yourself and know your strengths.”

In response to these startling figures, npower will today announce the start of Climate Cops SOS, an educational programme which looks for Britain’s greenest young people by working with schools across the country. Working with survival expert Ray Mears, npower hopes to inject passion for the great outdoors back into the hearts of the nation’s youths. To enter the competition, they will have to devise and implement a group activity which celebrates adventure and encourages their fellow peers to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. 100 winning students will be treated with a trip to the Lake District where they will have a survival master class with Ray himself.

Clare McDougall, npower’s head of education and community, comments:
“npower’s Climate Cops SOS aims to educate young people across the country to give them basic life skills. We really believe that if young people spend more time outdoors they will learn to love and respect the environment and they’ll want to preserve it for future generations.

“These figures show that there has never been a better time to teach our young people some great new skills. We’ll be looking for entries which use creative thinking to get their peers to enjoy activities outside, whether that’s by setting up after school clubs or implementing a project to teach their friends about nature. We hope that by getting involved, they will learn more about themselves and their environment.”
TOP 10 list of things modern youngsters can and can’t do:

Top ten things children aged 5 to 13 can do:
1 Work a DVD player 67%
2 Log onto the internet 58%
3 Play computer games on games console (wii, Xbox or similar) 50%
4 Make a phone call 46%
5 Use a handheld games console (Nintendo DSi, PSP or similar) 45%
6 Use an iPhone (or smartphone) 42%
7 Work Sky Plus 41%
8 Send a text message 38%
9 Search for clips on YouTube 37%
10 Use an iPad (or tablet computer) 31%

Top ten things children aged 5 to 13 can't do:
1 Recognise three types of butterfly 91%
2 Repair a puncture 87%
3 Tie a reef knot 83%
4 Read a map 81%
5 Build a camp fire 78% / Put up a tent 78.5%
6 Spot a blackbird, sparrow or robin 71%
7 Make papier mâché 72%
8 Make a cup of tea 65%
9 Build a den 63%
10 Climb a tree 59%

To enter npower’s Climate Cops SOS, you must be aged 11 to 13. Entries should come through your school and you will need to show that you have devised and implemented a group activity, which celebrates adventure and encourages your peers to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. For more information visit www.npower.com/climatecopssos

Contact information

Zoe Melarkey
Name
Zoe Melarkey
Job Title
Division
Telephone
0845 070 2807
Fax
Mobile
Email
Zoe.melarkey@npower.com
npower is one of Britain's largest electricity suppliers and supplies gas, electricity and related services to 5.8 million customers across the UK. npower supplies green energy to Wembley Stadium and the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. npower is a market leader in renewable energy and sources the green energy for juice directly from renewable sources, at no extra cost. npower has been awarded platinum status in Business in the Community’s CR Index and is one of 29 companies to have achieved the CommunityMark since its launch. All CommunityMark achievers have been recognised for demonstrating excellence in their holistic and strategic approach to community investment. We are also on twitter - @npowerhqYoutube and Facebook.