Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) is now unknowingly affecting more individuals than ever. We could even be facing an epidemic. Has it been a while since you last ventured into the natural world? Would you rather murder a tree than sit under it? Pay attention you may have NDD!
What is Nature Deficit Disorder?
Okay so I may be slightly exaggerating and adding a little light hearted humour as to what Nature Deficit Disorder actually is!
Nature Deficit Disorder is now a Buzz Word that originated in Richard Louv’s book “Last child in the woods”. Louv explains how a lack of interaction with the natural world is causing a series of physiological and psychological issues, particularly in children. These range from attention difficulties to diminished senses.
To put it simply when we lose our connection with nature, our minds, bodies, and spirits suffer. Lethargy, depression and obesity can all be reduced if we spend more time in nature argues Louv.
Is Urbanisation increasing Nature Deficit Disorder?
2008 marked a turning point in humanity’s history. For the first time ever more than half the global population were now living in cities, where as traditionally the balance was always skewed towards more people living in the countryside. This figure has only continued to grow in recent years and will continue to do so.
Does this mean we have to spend less time outdoors? Not necessarily! However, a (Study) in 2008 from the U.S found that although adult participation in outdoor activities increased by a dinky fraction, child participation fell 11% in a single year.
The news is even worse if you are from Britain. A recent survey found that British children in the 5-12 age group are the most house bound globally. 74% of the children studied spent less than an hour outdoors daily. That’s less than the recommended guidelines for prisoners!
If we don’t spend time in nature, time to unwind and get back to our roots symptoms such as attention difficulties and increased potency of seasonal affective disorder, which Louv has linked to Nature Deficit Disorder are more likely to develop.
We can use urbanisation and technologies that encourage us to stay inside as an excuse, but at the end of the day the decision is on us. Where would we rather be? Sat on the sofa watching re-enactments of life or out in the world experiencing everything ourselves?
If we just allow ourselves time to get outdoors complications coined under the Nature Deficit Disorder banner will likely diminish.
A simple cure for Nature Deficit Disorder
Spend more time outdoors! Really it’s that simple, both parents and children will benefit from spending more time outdoors.
Human biology evolved outdoors. We were designed to move, play, and interact with other species (both plant and animal). This gives us a natural high.
Any green environment will help. A simple walk in the park improves concentration in children with ADHD (Study). In fact just living near a park has been found to boost health among all social classes (Study).
Louv details how Nature Deficit Disorder diminishes our senses. Is this really surprising? When we are spending our time staring at screens we are not using our peripheral vision. We are not aware of our surroundings. We are “plugged in” so to speak. Of course our senses will sharpen when we expose them to range of sights, sounds, and smells that are unique to the natural world.
The indoors is lifeless, controlled and predictable. The outdoors is less predictable, alive, and exciting. Cure your Nature Deficit Disorder. Leave your rabbit hutch and take a daily dose of green. Don’t forget to bring your friends and family with you!