“Children in nature are an endangered species,” Richard Louv told his audience during a speaking event last week in Santa Fe. A decade ago, the award-winning journalist-cum-parenting guru coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” in his bestselling book, Last Child in the Woods, and the phrase launched an eco-minded revolution in parenting. Louv, founder of the Children and Nature Network, has since been its tireless advocate of getting kids outdoors, and he was in town to promote his new book, Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, out April 12.
Louv has spent most of the past decade traveling the country and promoting his brand of nature parenting, and says kids not getting enough time outside. As a result, he says, we’re seeing increasing rates of childhood obesity, anxiety, depression, attention disorders, vitamin D deficiencies—the list goes on.
But here’s the good news: it’s never too late to improve. No act is too small. And each and every single child and family can make a difference.
That’s the crux of Vitamin N, a cheerfully pragmatic, can-do manual on parenting. Louv offers 500 simple, creative strategies for getting kids outdoors and creating a lasting connection with the natural world. It’s no longer enough to strive for a sustainable future for our children and their children, he argues. We must create a nature-filled world, starting now—in our families, neighborhoods, and communities. Here are just a few of the many easy, everyday ways to bring our kids back from the brink:
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