Nature Deficit Disorder

NatureDeficit Disorder

Theworld population ion has finally hit seven billion and more peoplelive in cities than in any other time in history. As the lifestyleschange, people are moving towards populated areas with increasedhousing projects and decreasing natural environment. There isincreased interruption of the natural habitats that animals live in,and they migrate or become few altogether. Due to the patterns ofsettlement children grow into in environments that do not expose themto very little aspects of the natural conditions. There is reducedneed to explore the environment as many people spend time working,and when they get home, they can catch up with the world through thetelevisions.

Mostpeople are unaware of what they miss in the natural, environment.Children make up the bulk of this population since a significantnumber of the life in the artificial environment. For this reason andthe consequences that come along with it, Richard Louv coined theword “.” In his 2005 novel, “The LastChild in The Woods,” Louv depicts how children continually losetouch with the natural surroundings. They have very few areas theyand visit to enjoy nature, and this limits their movement. Thetechnology also plays a significant role as they spend ample time infront of televisions and playing computer games (Louv 15).

Althoughit is not a medical condition per se, hasvarious implications for the behavior of an individual. There areobservable characteristics that manifest in people especiallychildren, and they are attributable to the inhibited interaction withthe environment. This paper will detail the various instigatingfactors of Nature Deficient Disorder and lay emphasis on theireffects on human behavior. It will also provide a few recommendationsthe can be adopted to avoid the interaction with the naturalenvironment from drifting away.

Causesof Nature Deficient Disorder

Thepresent era experiences technological innovations than any other timein history. The world is shrinking into a small village wherebypeople talk to each other and share information across the globe.Through technological innovations, gadgets like the televisions bringpeople into contact with the world by accessing information acrossthe world. Webber, a respected family psychologist in Tennessee,agrees that the ease of access to the news reduces the need forpeople to travel physically from one place to another (21). It ismostly through the physical mobility that people experience contactwith the environment. People tend to respect the environment wheneverthey get in touch with it at an early age. They appreciate it, andthey can find reasons to protect it at any cost. Most people believethat they know a lot about the environment because they can read fromthe electronic sources and because they can describe the variousissues in the environment. However, reading without having theexperience in the environment does not provide a comprehensivefeeling, and they miss on the actual visual aspect of nature

MathewBalko, who is a distinguished researcher in the department of familymedicine in Michigan University and Sarah Arber, who is a family andalternative medicine specialist, are of the same opinion in thematter. Together with Ann Arbor-respected pediatrician Ashley Dehudy,they observe that there is increased encroachment of natural land(335). For this reason, most federal and local authorities havedevised a method to protect the remaining natural environment byrestricting access to these areas. Most of the areas are out ofbounds to the public unless by the permission of the relevantauthorities. The situation is worse in the urban areas whereby thebuilt environment replaces the natural environment. It is normal forkids to grow up without having come across some plants or animalsespecially the endangered species. Coming across them attracts a costto gain entry into the protected areas (Warber, Bialko &amp Dehudy335). The only readily available source of information is throughbooks or the electronic media.

Besidesthis, people do not find the need to visit different places to viewthe sceneries because they can do so that the comfort of their house.The programs that present information about the natural environmentis also another source of experience. Children living in the urbanareas have seen the pictures of different animals, but there areprospects that they will never see then in their natural habitats. Itcannot be, therefore, dais that they and appreciate the animals orplants in their natural environments.

Parentalfears is also an instigating factor that curtails the efforts ofchildren to explore the environment. Most parents fear that theirchildren might hurt themselves or get lost when they venture into theenvironment autonomously. To prevent this, most parents would ratherhave their children pay around where they can see their children. Dueto the increased buildings and loss of free pace, the only space leftis the few parks in the cities and the courtyards. These do notprovide children with a comprehensive approach to the environment.The environment is thus controlled by the parents and the autonomous,and inquisitive nature of the children becomes overlooked. Burroughsagrees to this and emphasizes that even if parents create anenvironment within their surrounding, it is not a match to thenatural environment (52). He gives the example of listening to thesong of a caged bird. The bird’s song would not be as meaningfuland sweet as it would be in the woods (53).


Thedisorder has various effects don the psychological and physicalhealth in children as they develop. First, an individual who does notunderstand the complexity of nature cannot appreciate its existenceand they can destroy it without any reservations. Harris and Roach,who are respected environmental economists in Ottawa and real estateconsultants, have an opinion on this issue. They are of the view thatthe decreasing respect for the integration of the natural environmentand the built environment is because people do not understand theimpacts of the absence of the natural environment. The effects areeven worse when the parents restrict their children indoor (4). Thetendency alienates them with a variety of animals and plants. Ifchildren do not develop a sense of care for the natural environmentwhen they are still young it is hard to develop the right attitudewhen they become adults.

Secondly,some scholars associate the unhealthy life led by many Americanchildren characterized by obesity as a result of staying indoors toomuch. With less activity, children accumulate fats, and they becomeobese with time. There is a difference between children who interactwith the natural environment in the less built-up areas with thosewho reside in the urban areas. He former have all the space and dueto their inquisitive behavior about nature, in general, they d tospend a lot of time wandering while they play, and this helps then togrow healthy. Louv is of the opinion that being sensitive to natureimproves not only the well-being of the children but also theirpsychological health. When they play, they come across new things,and they engage in finding out about their nature (25). When theystayed a lot indoors, they become moody, and they might developdepression. Being moody and experiencing psychologicaldissatisfaction is one of the symptoms of .

Inthe development theory as depicted by Jean Piaget, children developintelligence at an early age. Their intellectual development relies alot on the environment in which they live. A disconnect with theenvironment at a young age hinders children creativity. As they play,they develop their natural sense of discovery, and they relate to thedifferent aspects of the environment. On the same note, the variousdimensions of the environment like the visible objects and theaudible sounds influence the development of sensor neurons. Tecomplexity of the natural environment is, therefore, a veryimperative platform for the development of such features. In anarticle dubbed “Nature deficit disorder damaging Britain`schildren” Black who is a BBC science and environmental reporter,children are becoming less creative in their formative years due tothe reduced contact with nature (Black).

Withall the consequences emanating from the reduced interaction with thenatural environment, all is not lost. The institutions that handlechildren every day that is, the learning facilities and the families,should make efforts to expose children to the outside environment. ABlack notes, children record good behavior and, motivation when theyhave an outdoor lesson (black). It is evident that the naturalsurrounding motivates them and ignites a particular form of interestin them. Teachers and parents are capable of providing suchenvironments once in a while.

Secondly,the over protective nature of parents to their children should beless practiced. Children will be better when learning on their ownwith little assistance than when everything is under the control ofthe parents. When they play together and make themselves dirty in theenvironment, they will learn a thing or two about how things work inthe environment. Their senses of sight and hearing will respond wellto the natural sounds and help in the development of their neuronsunlike when they send their time indoors listening to artificialsounds (Black).

Lastly,since globalization comes with eh migration of people to the urbanareas as well as the sprouting of new towns, people should embracethe practice of environmental fondly cities. Currently, very fewcities pass as environmental friendly. The relevant institutionsshould enforce it through the application of different building lawsand develop current plans to save the natural environment. Playingfields, parks and gardens can be important places for children toplay and learn at the same time.

Inconclusion, , though not medically recognizedhas far-reaching effects on the life of children, and it may affectthe interaction with the environment as they grow up. The direconsequences including physically and emotionally unhealthy childrenare solvable through the application of different mechanisms. Parentsand teachers should allow children to spend time outdoors to enablethem to learn and develop holistically.


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Harris,Jonathan M., and Roach, Brian. Environmentaland natural resource economics: A contemporary approach.New York: ME Sharpe, 2013.Print.

Louv,Richard. &quotDo our kids have nature-deficit disorder.&quotEducationalLeadership67.4 (2009): 24-30. Print.

Louv,Richard. Lastchild in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder.New York: Algonquin Books, 2008. Print.

Osborne,Sue. &quotTreating nature deficit disorder.&quot IndependentEducation42.3 (2012): 22. Print.

Warber,Sarah, Bialko, Malko &amp Dehudy, Ashley.P04. 85. Addressing nature deficit disorder: a quantitative surveystudy of multidimensional aspects of well-being among young adults ata wilderness camp.&quot BMCComplementary and Alternative Medicine12.Suppl 1 (2012): P355. Print.

Webber,Amanda K. &quotNature versus Technology: Nature-Deficit Disorder inChildren.&quot (2012).