Outdoor play keeps the doctor away?

by Richard on February 13, 2012

From the BBC

Is modern living resulting in more people becoming disconnected from green spaces and the natural world, at the expense of our health and well-being?

Most concern is centred around children, who - say campaigners - are missing out on opportunities afforded to previous generations, ones as simple as climbing trees or getting their knees dirty.

In an increasingly urbanised, electronic-based, risk-adverse world, the adults of the future are displaying the symptoms of “nature-deficit disorder”.

The term was coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.

In the introduction to his book, he said that over the past few decades the way children understood and experienced nature had “changed radically”.

“The polarity of the relationship has reversed,” he wrote.

“Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment - but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading.

“That’s exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child.”

I read his book last summer and while I object to medical-sounding phrases like ‘nature deficit disorder’, he makes a compelling case for the value of kids being outdoors just playing.

One of the best things I have done in the last few years has been getting back in to the scout movement as an adult volunteer. There’s lots that we do that is disciplined and structured, but at the heart of scouting’s ethos are the simple truths that having fun and being outdoors do you good. True for the kids, true for the leaders too!

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