Nature Deficit Disorder
Transition statement: So now let me tell you where the term “Nature-Deficit Disorder” came from. II. Body
A. Nature-Deficit Disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature.
1. Richard Louv, child advocate and author of “Last Child in the Woods” created this term to describe the disconnection between children and nature
1. The author says children are spending more time indoors, and when they do go outside, they’re most likely to be on their way to soccer practice or some other structured activity. 2. The result, he says, is that kids are out of touch with fields, streams and woods.
2. Our society (media, schools, etc.) are scaring children to stay indoors. 1. According to a study done by Sandra Hofferth at the University of Maryland, from ’97-’03, there was a decline of 50% of children 9-12 who spent time in outside activities. 2. According to Duke University Child and Well-Being Index, the rates of violent crimes against young people have fallen well below 1975 levels.
3. Technology has taken over our children and demands their attention 1. Television and gaming has become hard to compete with as far as entertainment 2. Studies conducted in association with the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that children ages 8-18 years old spent an average of 6.5 hours a day plugged in electronically!
Transition statement: I have told you about the lack of nature in our children’s lives, now I’ll you the benefits of more exposure to nature.
B. Could nature therapy be a new option for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) treatment or even Autism? 1. Environmental psychologists reported in 2003 that that nature in or around the home, or simply a room with a view of a natural landscape, helped protect the psychological well-being of the children. 2. Adults and children alike, are just happier being exposed to the outdoors 3. The Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, researchers have discovered that children as young as five showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of Attention-Deficit Disorder when they engaged with nature. 2. Television and junk food are linked to child obesity
1. The CDC found that the amount of TV that children watch directly correlates with measures of their body fat 2. Basically, more exercise…outside would help!
3. It makes me think about how nowadays you see children watching TV in the car on a road trip instead of observing the natural beauty right outside their window 3. Children need nature for a healthy development of their senses 1. As stated by Professor Robin Moore of N. Carolina State University, “Primary experience of nature is being replaced by the secondary, vicarious, often distorted, dual sensory (vision and sound only), one-way experience of television and other electronic media.” 2. Children live through their senses and this interaction with the outdoor world is essential for their healthy development 3. Autism is described as tunneled senses, and feeling of isolation and containment 4. Researchers have found that children with disabilities gain enhanced body image and positive behavior changes through direct interaction with nature. 5. Studies of outdoor education programs geared toward troubled youth — especially those diagnosed with mental-health problems — show a clear therapeutic value.
Transition statement: Now that I have told you the benefits of outdoor play, I’ll now share with you some ways you can help encourage this with today’s children.
C. People who care about children and the future of the environment need to know about the research that’s been done in regards to this nature-deficit.
1. With a deeper understanding of the importance of nature play to healthy child development, and to their sense of connection to the world, we can create safe zones for nature exploration. a) We can preserve the open space in our cities, and even design and build new kinds of communities, using the principles of green urbanism. b) We can weave nature therapy into our health-care system, and nature experiences into our classrooms.
2. In education, we can build a No Child Left Inside movement. a) Today’s schools offer less and less recess, this needs to change! b) The Coalition “No Child Left Inside” was formed in 2007 to alert Congress and the public to the need for our schools to devote more resources and attention to environmental education. c) I encourage you to join this movement
3. As a parent and/or teacher, YOU can have the biggest impact on our children today a) Don’t just say “go outside & play”…yet go out with them show them what they’re missing, teach them! b) My students have three recesses’ a day…this is unheard of in most schools. c) Once children experience what nature has to offer they will most likely choose to go outside and “play” instead of “play” with electronics Transition statement: Now I will conclude…
A. First I told you how Nature-Deficit Disorder came about, second, I told you the benefits of getting children outdoors, lastly, I told you what YOU can do to make a change. B. I highly encourage you to read the book, Last Child in the Woods, Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder, by national bestselling author, Richard Louv. C. So the next time you hear a child say “I’m bored” take them outside and climb a tree, build a tree house, go dig in the dirt; anything to get them away from the electrical world.