"How to lick a slug"
"Paul, a fourth grader in San Diego, put it this way: ³I like to play
indoors better, ¹cause that¹s where all the electrical outlets are.²
Paul was quoted in a thoughtful book by Richard Louv, ³Last Child in the
Woods,² that argued that baby boomers ³may constitute the last
generation of Americans to share an intimate, familial attachment to the
land and water.²
Only 2 percent of American households now live on farms, compared with
40 percent in 1900. Suburban childhood that once meant catching snakes
in fields now means sanitized video play dates scheduled a week in
advance. One study of three generations of 9-year-olds found that by
1990 the radius from the house in which they were allowed to roam freely
was only one-ninth as great as it had been in 1970.
A British study found that children could more easily identify Japanese
cartoon characters like Pikachu, Metapod and Wigglytuff than they could
native animals and plants, like otter, oak and beetle.
Mr. Louv calls this ³nature deficit disorder,² and he links it to
increases in depression, obesity and attention deficit disorder. I don¹t
know about all that, although his book does cite a study indicating that
watching fish lowers blood pressure significantly. (That¹s how to cut
health costs: hand out goldfish instead of heart medicine!)
One problem may be that the American environmental movement has focused
so much on preserving nature that it has neglected to do enough to
preserve a constituency for nature. It¹s important not only to save
forests, but also to promote camping, hiking, bouldering and white-water
rafting so that people care about saving those forests."
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA