Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday News

Rich Louv recently spoke at the Outdoor Writers of America Annual meeting, held this year in Roanake, VA. His remarks engaged the audience, and a string of good press pieces have resulted. This article, from the San Francisco Chronicle, frames the issue well.

In far-ranging comments, Louv described how a child's outdoor adventures -- or lack of them -- can affect his or her development. He said that a promising future can still be shaped:

-- Youth health: "The increase in diabetes and heart disease is because kids are growing up not moving. When you look at discussions of child obesity, you never see nature mentioned. They (parents) send them to the gym, but you look at adults, and gyms are not doing the job that well for them either. The greatest increase in child obesity in history happened in the same two decades as the greatest increase in organized sports in history."

-- Child development: "How does nature shape child development? Take attention deficit disorder. Kids exposed to just a little bit of nature get better. The attention span seems to lengthen. Could it be that the huge increase in kids on anti-depressants is because we took away the calming effect of natural experience?"

-- The education bounce: "Schools with kids with nature testing do better across the board, 27 percent better in science testing, than a kid in a cubicle. If we really care about education reform in United States, we would have a campaign called 'No Child Left Inside.' "

At the meetings last week of the National Forum on Children and Nature, Rich Louv noted that 10,000 copies of his book were sold last month. Like Carson in the sixties, Louv is awakening the American public to this important issue, again Health is the primary focus with the environment playing a supporting role.