In the mind of Richard Louv, the clump of trees at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac is just as important as Yosemite National Park in introducing children to the wonders of the natural world.
“What is just as important as wilderness is nearby nature,” Louv said. “For a child, it can be a doorway to another universe.”
Louv, an author of “Last Child in the Woods” and more recently “The Nature Principle,” spoke to a packed and enthusiastic auditorium at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., Wednesday night.
The keynote speaker of the Built Environment and Outdoors Summit, Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” in “Last Child in the Woods.” The term describes what has happened as children grow up playing indoors rather than outside. It’s a shift the book claims has negative consequences to individual health, our social fabric and even to the creative process.
Louv’s most recent book is “The Nature Principle” that envisions a future where lives are just as immersed in nature as they are in technology.
Many in the crowd were already familiar with Louv’s work. Over the past several years, local retired real-estate developer John McGrew has handed out hundreds of Louv’s books. They helped spark the local grass-roots organization Outside for a Better Inside.
As a boy who grew up in a part of Raytown, Mo., where the tract houses ended and the fields and woods began, Louv said he developed his love of nature early.
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