I dug in the dirt today. It was nice to get back into the soil after a long winter. I feel a profound connectedness to the natural world and it is in this sort of work that emphasizes that to me. I feel the pulsating energy of life bursting out in all directions. It is a comforting presence this wild sentience of the natural world.
It is an ancient wisdom this knowledge of the land. Our ancestor’s once relied on this essential knowledge of the earth. Progress of modern civilization has left most people especially city dwellers unnaturally detached from the natural world.
Exposure to the nature was once so commonplace, but times have changed and we’ve changed with them.
Are we losing our naturalness?
In his book “The Nature Principle’ Richard Louv calls it Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv defines nature deficit disorder as an atrophied awareness and a diminished ability to find meaning in the life that surrounds us.
The author explains and quite passionately that “The traditional ways that humans have experienced nature are vanishing.” which greatly affects our health and well-being. He evokes The Nature Principle which states “that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being and survival.”
Louv sites example after example of scientific studies backing up his well thought out claim. He brings up the validity of green exercise and it’s proven enhancement of mood and self-esteem while reducing feelings of anger and depression.
Louv refers to a study which found that humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological and physical breakdowns that are similar to those observed in animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat.
This should be of no surprise to any animal of the human variety reading this.
I remember growing up in the Seventies and Eighties. I remember being outside, if the weather was nice, we’d be outside all day. The streets and yards and parks were full of kids running and playing. These days it seems that all the kids are inside, tapping on one screen or another. With all the good that the digital age has brought, we have paid for it; this pixel existence we call progress.
We are losing our natural intelligence; knowing the signs of nature. Nature is becoming quite unnatural for many of us, myself included.
Where once our ancestors roamed the wild land, living as one with the planet in an equitable balance with natural world, modern humans set out to conquer and conquer we have. We control our physical surroundings to the point to where we can bring day to night and water and life to where none exists.
Humans have progressed out beyond the Earth. We can harness the power of the microscopic and the macroscopic. We have cured diseases and built bridges and dams and power plants….We are a powerful race with much to accomplish, and much to lose.
We have polluted ourselves and our world, always in a constant battle of who will control: humankind or nature. Now nature is fighting back and I can only wonder and hope for the best.
And I do hope for the best and I do have hope for the future. I see it in the eyes of a child fascinated with a ladybug in the backyard, a teenager taking water samples at a local restoration project. I see it in the experienced hands of the citizen gardener, the urban naturalist and the amateur botanist. There are success stories, more and more everyday.
We all share this love for nature and it’s up to us, each one of us to get back what we have lost, restore our naturalness and teach our children how to coexist with technology and nature together. These concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive.
I recommend reading this excellent book “the Nature Principle” by Richard Louv and then get moving, even if it’s a five-minute walk in the neighborhood, it’s a start and all it takes is that first step to get going…. better yet bring a friend and save our naturalness one step and one friend at a time.
Have a wild day!
♦ Related articles ♦
- Kids and the Environment : Pioneering College Explore Nature-Deficit in Children (naeeuk.wordpress.com)
- Are modern British children suffering from ‘nature deficit disorder’? | Colin Tudge and Aleks Krotoski (guardian.co.uk)
- Nature deficit disorder? (thisfragiletent.wordpress.com)
- Nature Deficit Disorder | Education.com (education.com)
- http://richardlouv.com/books/nature-principle/ (Richard Louv website)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aXV-yaFmQNk ( Baby with Ipad)