Most of us crave being able to spend time in a forest, or by the sea, or even in our garden if we’re lucky enough to have one. Yet in a world that’s increasingly noisy, dirty, crowded and manmade, doing so is getting harder and harder. In fact in 2008, for the first time in our history, there were more people living in cities than in the countryside, the upshot being that a significant percentage of the population now suffer from ‘nature deficit disorder’.
The term was coined by Richard Louv, journalist and author whose books Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder explore our growing disconnect with Mother Earth, the negative impact this is having on our mind, body and spirit; and what, if anything, we can do about it.
Louv, who’s being interviewed here about the phenomenon, begins by saying that many studies have proven beyond a doubt “how great being outside in nature is for childhood development, but also for all of us throughout our lives for psychological health, for physical health, for cognition, ability to learn, productivity even.”
Indeed, the effects are so positive that in 2012, the World Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature passed a resolution declaring that children have a human right to experience the natural world. For the IUCN to have to pass such a resolution shows just how serious the problem has become, a…