CBD 2021: Planet Hope: Species Loneliness, Nature-Deficit Disorder and the Future of Life on Earth
Richard Louv speaks on “Nature-deficit disorder,” as he defined it in his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods as not a medical diagnosis, but a useful term â?? a metaphor — to describe what many of us believe are the human costs of alienation from nature, as suggested by recent research. Among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, a rising rate of myopia, child and adult obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, and other maladies. Louv says “In the early 2000s, when I was researching and writing Last Child in the Woods, I identified only about 60 studies rigorous enough to cite. Today, the Children & Nature Network offers abstracts for more than 1,000 studies. Recognizing this, some physicians now write prescriptions for nature time. Animal-assisted therapy is among the fastest-growing trends in health care. We see a rapid increase in the number of nature-based preschools. Increasingly, biophilic architects are weaving natural elements into workplaces, homes, neighborhoods and cities. Biophilic design links nature connection to higher human productivity and creativity. We know this now: The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need.
As part of the new nature movement emerging around the world, we see a growing body of evidence about animal intelligence and emotions. In the new book, Our Wild Calling, I make the case that strengthening the bond between humans and other animals can transform our lives â?? and help save theirs.
In addition, I am concerned and have written about the cultureâ??s dystopian trance, in the face of unprecedented environmental challenges, and our urgent need for imaginative hope: the ability to imagine and begin to create a future weâ??ll want to go to, as Martin Luther King urged us to do. This is not only essential for the long run, but for people’s mental, physical and spiritual health right now.”
Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder; The Nature Principle; Vitamin N and most recently, Our Wild Calling. Translated and published in 24 countries, his books have helped launch an international movement to connect families and communities to nature. In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society. Prior recipients included Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. Among other awards, Louv is the recipient of the Cox Award for 2007, Clemson Universityâ??s highest honor, for â??sustained achievement in public serviceâ? and in 2020 Richard received the Garden Club of Americaâ??s prestigious Margaret Douglas Medal for conservation education. He speaks frequently around the world, including keynote addresses at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, the first White House Summit on Environmental Education, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Friends of Nature Conference in Beijing, China. He is co-founder and chair emeritus of the nonprofit Children & Nature Network.
Louv’s Planet Hope session is part of the free Contemplation by Design Summit, Oct. 25-Nov. 2, 2021.The full Summit schedule is posted at: http://contemplation.stanford.edu/summit.
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