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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Richard Louv
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication Date: 

Cloth, 323 p., $24.95

In this well-documented text, author Richard Louv presents a chilling picture of how society has effectively alienated children from nature and the serious long-term effects it has upon families and communities. Louv, a highly respected author, columnist, and consultant in the field of social policy, takes to task those who have played a part in removal of children from "green nature." He pulls together the threads of various scientific studies, weaving a fabric that reveals the great harm that is being done to future generations in the guise of better education; ‘improved’ nature sites; television, video, and computer entertainment; organized activities and sports; protection of youth and community property; and, sadly, as useful expedients for parents when dealing with childhood problems. Together, these have deprived children from direct experience with the natural world, so that today’s children miss the creativity, the adventure, and the spirituality that can be found there.

But this is not just a book on the harm of removing the child from nature, for it offers reasonable solutions on reuniting the child with the natural scene for healthy childhood development. Studies suggest that these are potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. The author’s stirring words — written in an easy, understandable style — urge parents and communities to work toward the goal of this reunion. Every adult involved with children should read this assessment of the social consequences of preventing children from a familiarity with and knowledge of nature.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden