March 24, 2006

Nature deficit disorder

I'm a nut on natural sounds.

Years ago, I started collecting sounds of nature on cassette tapes, later on CDs. I've found them wonderful accompaniments to focused work, meditation, even sleep. I find actual recordings are far superior to white noise or sound machines though the latter works too.

I have them on my computer, my iPod, on CDs, even on my Audubon clock. I thought with a different bird call for each hour, I would learn to identify them by their song alone. No such luck. Seems as though I can only tell the nine o'clock bird from the noon bird.

I believe that without sounds of nature around, at least part of the day, we lose contact with the natural world. Too much sound from radio, TV, computers and iPods, disconnects us from the living, breathing world outside of our own bodies.

Natural sounds emerge from the silence that descends when we turn machines off. In a sheltered space, be it house or office or apartment, with windows closed, silence still brings the hum of the refrigerator or computer. That's why I use recordings.

True well-being brings an expanded sense of being alive. You can't be expanded without a greater sense of self that includes connectedness with nature, her ocean waves, morning song birds, waterfalls, and crickets.

Nature deficit sends kids down a desolate path

Author Richard Louv says kids don't get outside enough and so their bond with nature is not developed and they are suffering as a result. Kids need nature to develop their senses of learning and creativity and wonder.

"Nature is directly connected to our health. It helps us feel better physically and psychologically. It helps us pay attention."

He wonders whether the increase in ADD is attributable in part to children's isolation and alienation from the natural world. His campaign, "No Child Left Inside," calls for less time wired up, more time outside. Any patch of grass, vacant lot, woods or fields will work for kids.

His book

"Last Child in the Woods : Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" (Richard Louv)

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 24, 2006 03:48 PM | Permalink