Tag Archives: Nature-Deficit Disorder

Last Child in the Woods

21 Jun

I’ve been reading Richard Louv’s ‘Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.’ I’ve heard of the concept of Nature-Deficit Disorder and felt sceptical of the term for all sorts of reasons. I thought it was time I gave the book a read to try to get my head round it further and see how it related to working with children and young people in an inner city setting. I’m only 60 pages in so I haven’t gathered my thoughts yet but I wanted to share a couple of snippets that got me thinking.

There was a child went forth every day,

And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became,

And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,

Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.

Walt Whitman

In the medical journal the Lancet, researchers from the University of Glasgow reported a study of toddler activity where the researchers clipped small electronic accelerometers to the waistbands of seventy-eight three year olds for a week. They found that the toddlers were physically active for only twenty minutes a day.

Gordon Orians, Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Washington, says research suggests that our visual environments profoundly affect our physical and mental well-being, and that modern humans need to understand the importance of what he calls ‘ghosts’ the evolutionary remnants of past experiences hard-wired into a species’ nervous system.

As a species we crave the very shapes we now allow to be scraped away.

There are some fantastic links already between Richard Louv’s book and core ideas in evolutionary perspectives of Play theory. I’m looking forward to exploring these issues more.