Burning Question

Are kids today disconnected from nature?

Richard Louv
Author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Yes. Schools, parents, even organizations devoted to the outdoors, are effectively banning the kind of outdoor play that people my age enjoyed as children. Overemphasis on testing is pushing nature experiences out of education; worry about lawsuits is leading to what amounts to the criminalization of natural play; and fear of strangers—exaggerated by the news media—is scaring children straight out of the woods and fields. Yet new studies demonstrate just how important direct contact with the outdoors is to healthy development. Healing the bond between our young and nature is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demand it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depend upon it.


Conn Iggulden
Author of The Dangerous Book for Boys

Yes. Game machines involve someone else’s imagination doing the job for kids—making them passive consumers. If you have sons, you care about this, so make something with them—like a swing on a tree, a go-cart or a bow and arrow. Give them an afternoon outside they won’t forget. When it gets dark, get hold of a telescope and find the moons of Jupiter. It’s not hard, honestly. What’s hard is trying that with a sullen fifteen-year-old. Catch them young and show them your own sense of wonder. That’s it. That’s enough.

Dawn Nolan
Spokesperson, Girl Scout Council of Greater New York

Some may be, but many are not. In fact, many of today’s girls and young women have a greater sense of responsibility in regards to preserving the environment compared to those of past generations.  In the 95-year history of Girl Scouts, outdoor activity has been fundamental. When the program began, it really broke with the more traditional roles that were available to girls by allowing them to participate in their community and environment. Today, we encourage girls to take care of the earth and provide opportunities for them to discover the natural world around them and make the world a better place by cleaning up parks and beaches, planting trees, and helping recycling efforts.

Issue 25

Sign up for Plenty's Weekly Newsletter