I just finished reading Richard Louv’s The Nature Principle. It’s one of the most constructive and inspiring looks at our need for nature, not just as children (as in Last Child in the Woods) but every bit as much as adults, too. There’s a really wonderful quote about the risks vs. the benefits of being out in nature:
From the backyard to the backcountry, nature comes in many forms. The negative impacts of the risks that do occur in wilderness (from large predators, for example) should be balanced by the positive psychological benefits of that risk (humility, for one). And yes, most research on nature and human health has focused on pathology and natural disasters, but this preference by researchers has something to do with where the research funding comes from. Researchers looking at the health benefits of nature are, in fact, addressing a knowledge imbalance. (Louv, 2012, p. 52)
I am 33, and I am of the last generation of children who got to play outdoors unfettered, for the most part. Between helicopter parents, overzealous lawsuits, and stranger danger, kids these days are more and more discouraged from venturing outdoors–and this is in the safest, quietest neighborhoods
Read the rest here.