Nature Deficit Disorder
The statistics are staggering. Kids today spend 7 hours more on homework and academics and 2 hours less on sports and outdoor play per week than they did 20 years ago. The traditional family summer vacation has fallen by the wayside, 28% fewer families take that time away. And national park attendance is way down. If you need a reason to get outside, here’s a good one. We all know that spending time in nature is good for us. Well, now scientists have proven it scientifically! Recent studies at the University of Illinois show that the more time people spend outdoors, in parks, gardens and other green environments, the better they are able to pay attention, focus, and remember. The theory is that when we have to struggle to maintain attention on a task like writing, or computer work, neurotransmitters in the front part of the brain become depleted. Our brains basically get tired. Being in a natural environment allows the brain to replenish itself. Call it “Vitamin G, for Green”, it lowers stress levels, improves rates of success in school, and decreases the symptoms of ADHD. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Before I write my next article I’m going outside for a walk!
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv