Friday, March 30, 2012


Two piece on 'Nature Deficit Disorder' today

In Natural Childhood for The National Trust (UK), Stephen Moss frames NDD as a disorder leading to physical health problems in children including obesity, mental health problems, and growing inability to assess risks to themselves and others.

Timothy Egan at the New York Times argues that growing epidemic of obesity in the US is linked to lack of time outdoors.

Aleks Krotoski challenged the idea that nature deficit disorder exists and that not going outside is linked to an increase in obesity among children. But whether there is a causal link or not, it seems clear that getting kids outside more -- in addition to other changes such as better diet -- could help them in many ways.

Egan makes some deep links:
Nature may eventually come to those who shun it, and not in a pretty way. We stay indoors. We burn fossil fuels. The CO2 buildup adds to global warming. Suburbs of Denver are aflame this week, and much of the United States is getting ready for the tantrums of hurricane and tornado season, boosted by atmospheric instability. 
Last week, an Australian mountaineer named Lincoln Hall died at the age of 56, and in the drama of that life cut short is a parable of sorts. Hall is best known for surviving a night at more than 28,000 feet on Mount Everest, in 2006. He’d become disoriented near the summit, and couldn’t move — to the peril of his sherpas. They left him for dead. And Hall’s death was announced to his family. But the next day, a group of climbers found Hall sitting up, jacket unzipped, mumbling, badly frostbitten — but alive. He later wrote a book, “Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest.” 
Still, having survived perhaps the most inhospitable, dangerous and life-killing perch on the planet, Hall died in middle age of a human-caused malady from urban life — mesothelioma, attributed to childhood exposure to asbestos.

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