My new favorite book is “Last Child in the Woods: Savings Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv. It won’t even be available in bookstores or online until May 20, 2005, but I got a review copy and can't wait to share my excitement about what it has to say.
“I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” a fourth-grader told Louv. But the author believes that “it’s not only computer, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas.”
Louv continues: “As children’s connection to nature diminishes and the implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can be powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity and attention deficit disorder.”
This book is a powerful plea for people to take the healing power of nature seriously – for kids, and also adults as well.
What has been your experience with today’s children? Do they seem to have the same freedom we had as kids, to wander into nearby natural areas unchaperoned? To build forts, run free, ride bikes to school, discover raw nature?