As we head into the holiday season, we at Care2 are taking a second look at some of the people we’ve covered this year and who we really admire. In a nutshell, they’re our Holiday Heroes.
Richard Louv (pronounced like “move”) is a nature journalist and educator who has changed the lives of thousands of children and parents. It was in 2005 that Louv’s groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, was published. With his coining of this phrase, nature-deficit disorder, that perhaps many of us knew existed, but couldn’t quite articulate, Louv created a movement to get children and families back to nature.
“Our children,” writes Louv, “are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world.” He goes on, “This has implications for our children’s mental and physical health, their ability to learn and our future relationship with the natural world – in terms of our willingness to care for it.”
Since its initial publication, Last Child in the Woods has created a national conversation about the disconnect between children and nature, and indeed Louv’s message is now being heard internationally. From the book grew the Children & Nature Network, created to encourage and support the people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature. Hundreds of groups and initiatives around the country are now affiliated with this, working together to ensure that children experience nature firsthand.
Here’s an excerpt from his recent keynote at the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference in September: “It is a terribly under-researched arena, but the research that is coming forward suggests some very interesting things. The University of Illinois has done studies of children with the symptoms of attention deficit disorder, and reports that these symptoms get much better with just a little bit of contact with nature. Recent studies at the University of Washington and the University of Indiana looked at inner-city neighborhoods and found that the greener the neighborhood, the lower the rate of obesity – independent of population density.”
You can watch an interview with Richard Louv here:
Do you have a Holiday Hero you’d like to nominate? Please let us know in the comments.