Fourteen years ago, my book Last Child in the Woods introduced the term “nature-deficit disorder.” The term was new, but the trend (of alienation from the natural world) was not.
Parents, educators, caregivers had been witnessing childhood move indoors. They wanted to reverse the trend. Out of those efforts, an organization, the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) sprang up. And, eventually a movement.
Today, C&NN is the worldwide New Nature Movement’s leading organization. Together with our member, we are working to ensure that every child has access to nature in their lives. We’re greening schoolyards in cities around the country, increasing nature connection and more natural habitat in urban areas, building an online library of evidence supporting the benefits of nature for people, empowering educators, parents, grandparents and youth leaders to take the movement to the next stage.
Together with you, we believe that nature is a human right, that every child has the right to a meaningful connection with a healthy natural world. If you haven’t already, please become a member of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN).
As a C&NN member, you’ll be supporting and expanding C&NN’s recent accomplishments. Among them:
- Through a partnership between C&NN and the National League of Cities, 20 U.S. municipalities are now deeply engaged in the work of connecting children families to the natural world — especially in communities with little access to nature connection. Mayors in these cities understand that increasing nature access can advance their goals for public health, economic development and more. In 2020, C&NN hopes to greatly expand the number of nature-rich cities.
- States are getting in on the action, too. Elected officials in New Mexico, Minnesota, Washington, Ohio and Utah have passed statewide policy initiatives that get more kids outside, more often.
- More than 100 organizations have now signed on in support of a national green schoolyards agenda aimed at making sure that every child in the U.S. has access to a green schoolyard by 2050. School systems from coast to coast are launching district-wide outdoor experiential learning programs and green schoolyards.
- In recent years, the number of nature-based preschools has grown by more than 500 percent. In 2020, we hope to see that number increase dramatically.
- Since 2005, the number of serious research studies on the benefits of nature experiences to human development grew from a handful to nearly 1000. Our online C&NN Research Library is now the most comprehensive collection of research abstracts, available free to anyone in the world. In addition, C&NN’s Research Digest distributes the results of the newest studies to changemakers worldwide. In 2020, C&NN hopes to help more communities, schools, and advocates put this research to work.
- C&NN continues to train and be inspired by a growing number of diverse, young and emerging Natural Leaders who see the outdoors as a platform for social and environmental justice, at a time when our planet needs them most.
- Through teleconferences and our annual conferences, C&NN brings activists, families, cities, and organizations together to learn from each other and grow the movement. One recent C&NN International Conference drew nearly 1000 people from 21 counties.
While we’ve seen progress, many of the challenges preventing children from connecting with nature grow in complexity and prevalence each year. Childhood obesity, mental health disorders and screen usage among children are all on the rise while, for many children, outdoor time continues to decline.
And now we see a new threat: the widely reported epidemic of social isolation. Recent research has suggested that human loneliness may soon become one of the leading causes of early death, and that, in the U.S. the younger a person is, the more likely he or she will experience loneliness. This trend is attributed to several causes—among them, an excess of social media. But many of us believe that the loneliness epidemic is rooted in species loneliness — our disconnection from our fellow species. Our nature deficit can also be linked to the climate emergency and the worldwide threat of biodiversity collapse. I discuss species loneliness in my new book, Our Wild Calling.
As a member, participant, or ongoing contributor, you’ll join fellow changemakers in creating a more powerful constituency for our work. You’ll enjoy increased opportunities to engage with leaders in the field, access valuable tools and resources, and receive discounts to our Inside-Out Leadership Summit and our International Nature Everywhere Conference, to be held in Atlanta in 2020 and 2021. Please help C&NN continue its vital work.
Together, we can make a difference in kids’ daily lives, by ensuring they have access to nature everywhere they live, learn, pray and play. The New Nature Movement isn’t only about our own well-being. It’s about the health and survival of the children of all species.
Thank you so much for joining us in this important work.
Join before December 31, 2019, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a signed copy of Richard Louv’s newest book, “Our Wild Calling,” thanks to the generosity of the book’s publisher, Algonquin Books. You’ll also be eligible to win an invitation to join a members-only discussion with Rich about the book.
Join C&NN today and help us earn a $25,000 matching gift!
Learn more about C&NN’s Initiatives:
2020 Inside Out Leadership Summit in Atlanta, GA
Cities Connecting Children to Nature
Read C&NN’s 2018 Annual Report