Tony Cohen's Reviews > Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
May 11, 2008

liked it
Read in May, 2008

A book I strongly recommend, although I wish the information/research/extrapolation was farther long the developmental cycle. In a nutshell, the author coins the term 'nature deficit disorder' was some sort of easy-to-use term to somewhat anchor his still developing notions that children need unfettered time in un-organised nature. They need to be able to play in the margins, where the truly interesting stuff is happening (one study among scant few mentioned [for reasons that I will discuss later] was that children in the rubble of WW!! Europe preferred the wild spots to the undamaged concrete) The book is riddled with anecdotes about the changes in youthful patterns of interaction with nature, and the scary declines in that area: how children who once grew up with time alone in nature now spend it near the ubiquitous and ESSENTIAL electrical socket. Of course, there is a cavalcade of potentially damaging implications to our behavioural changes, few if any of which have yet been subjected to strict scientific rigor.

There is some further effective commentary on the potential problems with development when we minimize our sensory input solely to the visual medium, which is the ever-increasing and general trend of our societies. There is also further tidbit relating to learning effectiveness and behaviours when there is a more ecological bent, and the scary decline in peoples' knowledge of the natural sciences (again a symbol of early play with nature) in lieu of a more recent molecular dominance. As vignettes go, one particularly memorable one was how, do to our society's fears and litigiousness, we have actually, legally, made it very hard to have unfetterd play with significant potential monetary penalties upon whose land fun can be had, which is a trend that we clearly need to reverse!

It is a strong book, but there is not enough hard science to back up all the interesting (and there are many of them) theories, but this book is important because it is putting the ideas out there. Along a paradigm, the early adopters will have to be preaching into an unknown before what they consider common-sense is put to the hard science test. I do feel that many of these ideas, and damning trends the author warns about, will one day be reversed when the science manages to catch up a bit more with what can only be fairly described now as very intelligent conjecture. In general, Americans should be worried, and Singapore should be absolutely shitting themselves; it is hard to even conceive of a place which more marginalizes 'wild' nature in lieu of a nicely manicured lawn.
3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Last Child in the Woods.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.