Timeline Events / Last Child in the Woods
Richard Louv’s book, ‘Last Child in the Woods’ illustrates the alarming impact that a growing divide between children and the outdoors has had on childhood development and environmental outlooks. He introduces the concept of ‘nature-deficit disorder’, which claims that as children spend less and less time in ‘unstructured’ natural environments they lose the necessary facet of childhood development; creative imagination and also become more prone to negative trends like attention deficit disorder, obesity and reduced empathy for the environment.
Since its publication in 2005, this book has inspired significant innovations, not in technological change, but instead in the development of advocacy programs for childhood development and environmental conservation. Spurring a national dialogue between teachers, physical and mental health professionals, parents and environmentalists, a number of organizations have now been created with the sole aim of reconnecting children with nature. Some examples include, the ‘Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative’, which aims at transporting kids to national wildlife parks where they can freely explore and learn about the ecosystems surrounding their cities or the ‘Green Hour Program’, which regularly outlines practical methods of reconnecting kids with nature. In defining and outlining the negative effects of a growing trend, this book has inspired innovation in advocacy programs that will hopefully lead to increased environmental awareness and sustainability.