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Expose youth to risks, says Duke


Modern society was being over-protective towards young people, the Duke of
Edinburgh said yesterday.  He said that youth should not be excluded from
adventure and risk-taking and pointed out that fatal accidents involving the
young in pursuits such as climbing or sailing had to be kept in perspective.
In a speech to the Association for Outdoor Learning he said: "We need to get
our facts right. There were 3,100 people killed in 1998 on our roads and we
still use cars; we have a few admittedly very tragic accidents in the
mountains and we look to banning them from young people's experience.
Are we thinking of banning cars?" The Duke was the principal speaker at a
conference entitled The Question of Balance, which took its name from a book
he published in 1982. It discusses the extent to which young people should
be put at risk in a healthy society.
He challenged people to be more adventurous and realistic about risks.
"There is more danger in not exposing people to risk than in exposing them,"
he said. "The downside for society is far greater if it is totally safe than
if it has risk."
The Duke of Edinburgh, who founded an award scheme for young people which
entails community work, physical fitness and orienteering, said adults had a
duty to help young people practise managing risks.  "Living is and will
always be a risky business. It is society that is at risk if we do not get
the balance right," he said. "We know that creating a group to look at risks
involves the high possibility it will find those risks."
The keynote speech by the Duke was supported by Ian Lewis, chairman ot the
UK Outdoor Institute, who said: "A life without adventure and no risk is not
a life at all. Adventure and risk are the very source of advancement in
science, sport, the arts, learning and society."
Frank Furedi, a writer and researcher, stated: "The worship of safety
represents a profoundly pessimistic attitude towards human potential."

For the 'A Question of Balance - Risk and Adventure in Society' Report,
contact the Institute for Outdoor Learning

tel: +44(0)1768 891065
fax: +44(0)1768 891914
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