Have you heard of the term “Nature Deficit Disorder”?
Nature deficit disorder is a phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods meaning that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems.
With an increasing amount of technology becoming a part of our daily lives, rapid urbanization of our civilization, as well as the drastic loss of natural habitat throughout the world in order to support our resource-based economies, urban sprawl, industrial agriculture etc. human beings have become less and less connected to the natural world, which we once not only fully relied upon, but lived within, as a part of rather than separate from.
This un-natural disconnection has resulted in Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) in people of all ages but is especially concerning in children as they are in their most critical phases of mental, physical, and emotional development. Regular connection with nature has been shown to play an essential role in our development and in the absence of nature, human beings suffer from many ailments. This only makes sense considering that despite all of our technological advancements, we are still made nature and we rely upon the natural world for all that sustains our most basic needs (food, water, air, soil, sunlight, medicine, natural resources etc.).
It seems like a grim issue… but there’s hope, as the solutions are quite simple. The most important thing is to acknowledge as a society that the problem exists. We need to understand that our disconnection from nature hurts us, that we need nature, and that nature needs us to have a strong connection to it in order for it to survive. If humankind loses our connection to nature, then we will become but a shadow of our former selves, living in a world without the amazing natural beauty that makes Earth so special, so unique…our home. We can’t allow our children, the next generation to inherit the Earth, to grow up without an appreciation for the natural world that sustains us and all life on this planet. That appreciation comes from connection.
Our friend Sean Guinan of the Environmental Pediatrics Institute is doing amazing work to help bring awareness to Nature Deficit Disorder, and providing great resources to help diagnose and treat NDD in children. Check out this video from him to learn 3 tell-tale signs of NDD.
Does anyone you know show these signs? Do you?
If you’re a natural practitioner interested in learning more about identifying and treating nature deficit disorder in children then I encourage you to check out Sean’s course in the Environmental Pediatrics Institute – Nature Prescriptions 101