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

by Algonquin Books
 (4.5 stars from 381 customer reviews)

79 new from $6.47    7 collectible from $9.99    250 used from $1.49    

List Price: $16.95

Product Description
Product Description
"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in-and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation-he calls it nature deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (Add), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and Add. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Customer Reviews

452 of 464 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Totally missed the obvious, September 12, 2011
I liked the author's ideas, and his arguments, and agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment. I think he's a great person, and I'm glad this book brought this very important issue into the public discussion. However, he totally missed the root cause of the problem he is addressing, and thereby missed the answer to the dilemma. Children don't spend enough time in Nature because adults don't. If we want our children to value Nature and experience it, we must. They are just modeling our behavior. As a Nature educator, I have grown to be disgusted by the very prevalent attitude of middle class parents: "Can somebody please take my kids outside so they can appreciate Nature while I go do important things?" This book is an elaboration on that misguided and futile idea. The author seems to be trying to see beyond it, but he can't quite do it.

Nature deficit disorder is MORE prevalent in adults than in children, and we are passing the disease on to them by rearing them in a way that... Read more

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all have interest in nature and the health and education of our young, August 26, 2017
A great read--maybe because it matches so much with my view that for a full and complete life we need to learn how to connect with the natural world we live in ---not only is it important to learn how to be together with nature -but to enjoy and be amazed -and to be alarmed at the point Louv is making that as our young are less connected with nature they are losing how to be creative and are losing the sense of imagination. My love of nature and its importance to our lives has me at work with our local land trust and I have quoted from Louv's book over and over as we connect with our community to support our projects.

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight, March 24, 2013
David L. Yinger (Sierra Mtns., California) - See all my reviews
I teach at a middle school in a depressed urban area and live in the mountains. A few times I've been able to bring groups of kids up to where I live for a day of woods-bumming, fishing, and fresh-air breathing. Many of these kids had never been out of their neighborhoods...had never experienced quiet or played with a dog or sat on a horse. I can't imagine such a closed-in, prison-like existence...it harkens back to those poor Romanian babies that the monster Ceausescu destroyed with his sadistic deprivation experiments. I wish I could convey the exhilaration I felt when I turned my young charges loose in the woods behind my house. At first they were timid...waiting for permission to cut loose...then they ran and laughed and climbed trees and used sticks and pine cones and anything else at hand to become knights errant and tough detectives and mountain climbers...and heroes.
Please read this book if you care about your children...if you care about grace and beauty. My poor words... Read more

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