Have you heard about children with Nature Deficit Disorder?

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”  ~ Albert Einstein

4 kids in tree
April is here, the month of spring emerging and anticipation of the resurrection of all of nature.  It’s also the time that many of us acknowledge and celebrate Earth Day. But did you know that today, an unprecedented majority of children in modern societies have what is being called ‘Nature Deficit Disorder?’  That wouldn’t apply to the kids sitting in the tree pictured here though, but according to a report on BBC about a three-year study done in Britain, only one-fifth of the children aged 8-12 were ‘connected to nature.’  That means four-fifths or a staggering 80% of children have little or no connection with nature.

Why should this matter?  In recent years, a lot of research has focused on the negative effects that result from lack of contact with nature.  In 2012, Britain’s National Trust published a report on the phenomenon of ‘nature deficit disorder.’   Though it is not yet recognized as a medical condition, this lack of connection with nature can have harmful, long lasting effects on children of all ages.  With the pervasive use of technology by younger and younger children, the growth of virtual, as opposed to reality-based play is having a profound effect on children’s physical and emotional lives. Mental health disorders including depression and self-harming can often be a result of this nature disconnect.

According to Sue Armstrong-Brown, head of RSPB, Britain’s largest nature conservation charity, “improving the natural connection for children is not only good for the youngsters, it is crucial for the future of nature conservation.  If we can grow a generation of children that have a connection to nature and do feel a sense of oneness with it, we then have the force for the future that can save nature and stop us living in a world where nature is declining.”

Dean video pink flowersBecause of their deep love and concern for the natural world, Dudley and Dean Evenson have dedicated their life and work to elevating awareness and appreciation for the earth, our planet, our only home.  They remember the very first Earth Day back in 1970. And in 1972, with Dudley being five months pregnant, they back-packed across Sweden to the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.  There they met Native Americans who were talking about Mother Earth and saying that the planet itself is an actual living being providing for all our physical needs and we are destroying her.  The Evensons were just beginning to work with the early portable video camera so they were able to document their experience in Stockholm and all that they were learning.  These videos and others ended up in a DVD released recently called ‘2 U.N. Earth Summits: 1972 & 1992’ of their experiences in Stockholm and later in Rio de Janeiro.

Then in 1979, Soundings of the Planet was formed to be a voice of the earth.  Dean had recorded the sounds of dawn in the Arizona desert and added their peaceful music of flute and harp and a whole new genre of music was born.  For over three decades, Dean and Dudley have produced CDs and DVDs that focus on peaceful, natural environments.  In celebration of Earth Day, Soundings of the Planet is offering super discounts on all Soundings albums that include natural sounds including our new 4 Earth CD and 4 Earth DVD of only natural sounds.  Please share with your children, grandchildren, or just enjoy them yourself.

4 thoughts on “Have you heard about children with Nature Deficit Disorder?

  1. Thanks Meredith. We love to remember the early days of our awareness of the environment and the first Earth Day in 1970 definitely got us all going. We have come such a long way since those days and we still have a long way to go before consciousness of living sustainably becomes the rule not the exception.

  2. Yes. I have heard of this. And with my limited mobility for the last year and a half I’ve been experiencing this as an adult. I love hearing about your adventures early on in life. I remember walking from our little town to the town where my high school was on the first Earth Day in 1970, the year I graduated from high school. We carried signs about the ZPG and the earth. I have so loved your beautiful music for many years now and meditate to it and fall asleep to it daily. Thank you Dudley & Dean!!

  3. The earth and the natural world is a well orchestrated symphony of life allowing us to coexist with numerous species who live together in a primarily cooperative relationship.

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