Last Child in the Woods

Sibylesque Last Child in the woods
REVIEW by Kerry Cue

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Last Child in the Woods:

Saving our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Richard Louv

Atlantic Books, 2005

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We are the generations, who roamed free. We rode our bikes unsupervised. Explored the neighbourhood. Played in the street. We poked around creeks, ditches, anthills and gum tree forests. We built tree houses and forts. Or, if we were city dwellers, we played on building sites, on vacant blocks and in playgrounds fitted with cold-steel swings and maypoles that could crack a head or take out a tooth.

Our grandchildren live indoors.

children_nature_3    yesilist websiteIn Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv meticulously records the relocation of children out of nature and into lounge rooms where they are exposed to the ‘one-way experience of television and other electronic media’.

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‘For some young people nature is so abstract – the ozone layer, a faraway rainforest- that it exists beyond the senses.’

‘Neither children nor wild life have been of much concern to urban planners in recent decades … public spaces have become increasingly domesticated, flat, lawyered, and boring’. In Pennsylvania three brothers, aged eight, ten and twelve, were forced to tear down their tree house in the backyard because they didn’t have a building permit!

According to Louv, it is not just the loss of interaction with nature that is of concern, but also the total loss of sensory experiences. At a time when child obesity, ADHD and other disorders are rife, we deprive children of the ‘physical exercise and emotional stretching that children enjoy in unorganized play’.

KidsNature_1  playlsi web‘The young don’t demand dramatic adventures or vacations in Africa. They need only a taste, a sight, a sound, a touch … to reconnect that receding world of the senses’.

Parents are often too busy to even think about nature. But we know what it is like to explore the neighbourhood. We can take our grandchildren into natural environments to pick up a rock, a stick or, simply, dig for earthworms in the garden. How Lilly Pilly Jam can save your life shows one way of involving grandchildren in both gardening and community activities.

There are many ways we can take them outdoors and show them the amazing reality beyond their digital screens.

Sibylesque Sibyl Approved Maroon

PHOTO SOURCE: yesilist and playlsi websites

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