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Curing ‘Nature-deficit Disorder’

 

As life becomes busier and more chaotic, as we lose more open space to the development machine, as we get more and more absorbed into electronic media, we are losing our connection with nature.

Author of bestselling books Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle Richard Louv coined the term ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’ to describe the loss of connection people increasingly have with the natural world. Louv argues that nature-deficit disorder affects “health, spiritual well-being, and many other areas including (people’s) ability to feel ultimately alive.”

So many of us continue to seek living environments in high density, manufactured housing estates. Large homes on small blocks of land with thousands of like-minded others. An endless horizon of rooftops.

While living in the Hawkesbury can mean longer commutes to work, it also means greater access to stunning natural environments; crisp, clean air; waking to the sound of birdsongs. If you’re lucky enough to own a property backing onto a nature reserve – like the home we currently have on the market in East Kurrajong – it also means glorious sunsets overlooking untouched bushland.

In an interview with National Geographic, Louv outlines his concern for children growing up without a connection to nature. He provides the example of a young man in Los Angeles who was headed for gangs and trouble. His life was transformed when he was forced to join the school Eco Club in lieu of detention. He had to grow a plant and attend a trip into a national park. The same article notes a study conducted by the University of Kansas that found young people who backpacked for three days showed higher creativity and cognitive abilities. Further, people in hospitals who can see a natural landscape have been shown to get better faster.

As creatures of habit, we don’t all look for different ways to do things, but when you realise that a home on 450m2 in the burbs costs about the same as 10 acres of nature in the Hawkesbury, why wouldn’t you choose the tree change and give ‘ultimately alive’ to your family?

By Janelle Muller

See here to read the full National Geographic article.

Photo credit: Annette Spokes

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