A first for me this week was hearing the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. What the?! I know personally that I get cranky if I haven’t recharged the batteries via a trail or the ocean, but NDD? Turns out there’s a whole body of research around this, and in particular its impacts on children. (Thanks Jerry Yudelson for the link)
I’m more familiar with the term ‘Biophilia Hypothesis’, a field which resonates with me deeply, but NDD implies perhaps the negative side of Biophilia… the things that can go wrong if we don’t connect with nature. (click here for a great overview of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ by Michael Todd)
My readings then led me to another great movement in the US – Children & Nature Network:
This site has a wealth of information, research and inspiration for getting re-connected with nature. This movement is not just about getting out of our cities to meet nature, but to bring nature back into our cities. It’s one of the core tenets of the urban ecology movement that I grew up on – including nature in our urban development and refurbishment is literally vital to our long-term survival as an urban community.
So our challenge for this weekend, should we accept it, is based on Attention Restoration Theory: to spend at least one continuous hour off the pavement and on the Earth. Phones off. Musac off. Senses open. Get your hands dirty, your feet wet or leaves in your hair, but just get out there and enjoy what we’ve got and where we’ve come from.