Could you have nature-deficit disorder?


Richard Louv. Courtesy of
Richard Louv. Courtesy of

National Geographic’s Brian Clark Howard explored “nature-deficit disorder” with the issue’s resident expert, Richard Louv, who coined the term that describes the loss of connection with the natural world increasingly experienced by children in today’s society.


“The causes of the disorder include loss of open space, increasingly busy schedules, an emphasis on team sports over individualized play and exploration, competition from electronic media, and what Louv and others call a ‘culture of fear,’ in which people are afraid to visit natural areas or even go outside due to heavy media coverage of violent events,” Howard writes.

While nature-deficit disorder is not a clinically recognized disorder, Louv  — author of two best-selling books, Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle — argues nature-deficit disorder affects “health, spiritual well-being, and many other areas, including (people’s) ability to feel ultimately alive.”

Click here to read National Geographic’s in-depth interview with Louv.