Overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder

Overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder

“The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need” - Richard Louv

That pretty much says it all. Since we know this idea won’t sit well with those intimately tied to technology nor those who prefer climate-controlled spaces, let’s look at what’s behind this assertion made by Richard Louv, author of The Nature Deficit Disorder.

Louv cites data which suggests spending time in the “living world” might enhance intelligence. Based on this research, he says, “the natural environment seems to stimulate our ability to pay attention, think clearly, and be more creative.” 

While Louv goes on to describe the numerous advantages of maintaining a relationship with the natural world, he doesn’t totally throw technology under the monorail. Instead, he describes what he calls “the hybrid mind.” This is the ability to “live simultaneously in both the digital and physical worlds, using computers to maximize our powers to process intellectual data and natural environments to ignite our senses and accelerate our ability to learn and feel….”. The point is that while technology provides easy access to a stream of information, the mind needs more than screen time and Google answers to understand what it encounters and generate new thoughts based on these inputs.

While studies continue to demonstrate how spending time outside is good for the mind, inspires creative thinking and promotes overall wellbeing, experience is our greatest teacher. Next time your brain feels like a charcoal briquette, try going for a walk, sitting on a bench someplace outdoors or opening the window and getting a breath of fresh air. A little spark from the living world might be just the thing to engage those mental gears.

For further reading, check out the whole article on Nature Deficit Disorder. Thanks to Richard Louv for the inspiration!

 - Eli Shostak

Eli Shostak, Lecturer of Adventure Education at FLC

Eli is a Lecturer of Adventure Education at FLC with expertise in mindful leadership, expedition planning and leadership, and tons of experience leading others in finding the personal and interpersonal benefits of exploring wild spaces.