Dorothy Mullen wrote this letter and sent it to Planet Princeton a few days before she died.
To the Editor:
We got the-hand-washing messaging down: do it and do it for 20 seconds!
We got the social proximity rules knocked: avoid!
But what about the obvious flip side: if avoiding large groups is potentially lifesaving, what are we doing indoors?
Faced with such momentous shifts in social norms as school closings nationwide, isn’t it worth asking: if social proximity is our foe, isn’t the outdoors our friend?
Shouldn’t we start a gardening program and get those kids outdoors? But wait, Princeton has that!
When I started writing 20 years ago about the consequences of screen-focused childhood, I had no idea I’d end up defending outdoor education as a national defense strategy. But with more space our friend and close social proximity our foe, can we please look for solutions outside — in our gardens?
Yes, sing Happy Birthday while washing your hands, and model good hygiene by keeping children a safe distance from large groups. Also, look outside where Mother Nature’s tender arms are wide open.
Outside we find harm-reduction solutions that reduce Covid-19 risk — with trails, fresh air and gardens — readily available, inexpensive, and practical as part of a whole-herd solution.