Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv was brought to my attention by a reader of Discover Walking. The book received such rave reviews by readers on other web-sites that I had to mention it here.
Richard Louv is the author of seven books that deal with family, nature and the community. Mr. Louv is a columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune and has written for magazines and newspapers too numerous to mention here.
The following quote from the book says it all: “Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demand it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depend upon it.”
From the Publisher
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, 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. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors are placing legal and regulatory constraints on many wild spaces, sometimes making natural play a crime.
As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.
In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply – and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.