Published on February 21, 2008
Section Green Report / Media
I try not to be paranoid about all the bugs, diseases, and mental traumas that await our children, but as a father of two, there’s one I can’t ignore: Nature Deficit Disorder. The term, coined by Richard Louv in his new book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder, is intriguing in its veiled disgust for a world that increasingly encourages children to stay inside where it is safe, engage in virtual worlds, and experience nature as an academic exercise.
In a recent interview with Salon.com, Louv defines the disease as “the cumulative effect of withdrawing nature from children’s experiences,” in favor of organized sports, video games and 100s of television channels. But the problem isn’t just in children; it is a societal problem that has roots in man’s rather recent domination of nature. Simply put, humans are experiencing increased stress from a lack of being rooted in the natural world.