In 2005, Richard Louv coined the phrase “Nature Deficit Disorder” in his bestselling book “Last Child in the Woods.” The basic idea of NDD is that today’s kids are deprived of time spent in nature: they’re over-scheduled, over-structured, over-scrutinized, and supervised at all times; they lack the ability to think and feel independently; they’re stressed; most of all, they don’t get muddy, dig for worms with their bare fingers, climb trees, or otherwise have enough spirited, unbridled fun (in a nutshell.)
If this concept sounds familiar, that’s because Louv’s book opened the door to a national discourse on the subject, and started an entire movement. As powerful a statement about how humans coexist with nature as “Silent Spring,” the book that launched the environmental movement in 1962, “Last Child in the Woods” grabbed us all by the lapels and made us look at the artificial and imprisoning environment in which we were raising our children. Louv wrote eloquently and passionately about the dangers of giving in to exaggerated or completely unwarranted fears about safety, and the depressing prospect of an entire generation of kids, completely out of touch with nature, growing up to be adults who don’t care whether the spring is silent or not.
In his latest book, “The Nature Principle” (Algonquin Books), Louv expands his original thesis from just kids to their entire families. According to Louv, parents need to connect with nature just as much as their children, and, what’s more, nature can be the…
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