I came across the idea of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ in 2006 when I read Richard Louv’s ‘Last Child In The Woods’. I partly agreed and partly disagreed with what I read, but I have noticed the idea of children (and people) needing to spend more time outdoors for health and well-being purposes is growing in popularity (which I do see as positive) so thought it would be good to recap on my understanding of Nature Deficit Disorder
What I discovered
I knew Nature Deficit Disorder was not a medical diagnosis but I think the first time I read Louv’s work I thought he wished it would be (which I did not really understand or agree with). Re-reading his words and about his work I now understand it was never designed to be a medical diagnosis but instead simply refers to the apparent link between people (especially children) spending less time outdoors, and the rising number of people with health and behavioural problems.
I do believe spending time in nature is important for health and well-being. But I am not too sure about the idea that children who grow up without exposure to much nature grow up unsympathetic to environmental causes (as I grew up in big cities with limited access to nature and care about the environment immensely!).
Having said that, I do want my daughter to grow up with a lot of exposure to nature (I’m not taking any chances!) and so as my action for this week I have committed to spending more time outdoors with her, especially in our garden (which she loves). To start this off, we spent an afternoon planting seeds in pots to take to the Hamilton Homeless Trust community garden.