What is the connection between being in nature and caring deeply for nature?
CBC interviewed author Richard Louv to discuss his latest book
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Two broad themes stood out for me. One, that kids need more unstructured free play time where they can roam in a natural environment (be it in an urban park or a hike in the woods). Two, that by spending time in the natural environment, kids will develop more appreciation for the environment.
There’s no doubt that this issue of connecting with nature strikes a chord with those of us concerned about the Earth’s environment. I’ve heard the argument before that we should spend more time in nature.
But does being in nature lead to caring for nature?
Well, I suppose it depends on what kind of caring one would like to develop for nature. I consider many of the farmers in Alberta to be quite in tune with their natural environment; yet, many draw water at unsustainable rates. I have friends who love the outdoors 4x4ing and ATVing in the outback. Can they be said to care for nature? On the other hand, do my city-born and bound friends who fight to reduce their eco-footprint care any less about nature?
Don’t get me wrong. Having nature as your playground is still a time-tested way of developing a sense of your power for exploration and discovery. Everyone should have the opportunity to grow and nurture plants as well as see life beyond just the human kind.
What is needed is an understanding of our connection to nature. How does an ecology work? How are we a part of it? What is our impact on it? Being in nature alone is not enough. The author may speak to that in greater detail as I have yet to read the book.
What do you think? What does it take to truly care for nature?