In his international bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (2005), journalist and child advocate Richard Louv changed the way millions of parents thought about the importance of immersing their kids in the natural world. In this impressive follow-up, he challenges us to make the best use we can of the restorative powers of nature and to establish a more balanced existence that can transform both our private and public lives. Peppering the text with solid scientific research, colorful and realistic anecdotes, and personal stories, Louv demonstrates how the nature principle ("reconnecting to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit, and survival") can improve how we live, work, play, exercise, explore, travel, and relax.
What will it take to extend a century of environmentalism and go beyond sustainability to the re-naturing of everyday life? Louv lays out his visionary program in seven overlapping concepts which form the structure of the book:
• We need more involvement in the natural world to balance the increasing utilization of high-tech in our lives.
• We must open to the Vitamin N connection which promises to enhance our physical and mental health.
• Relying on both technology and nature we will develop the hybrid mind and the increase in our intelligence, creative thinking, and productivity.
• Human/nature social capital will enrich and deepen our appreciation for community which includes all living things.
• Natural history will become as important as regional or personal identity as we develop our devotion for purposeful places.
• Nature will be incorporated through biophilic design into our homes, workplaces, and towns.
• Conserving and creating natural habitat and new economic potential will be the outcomes of the high performance human.
Since Last Child in the Woods was published, the first de-natured generation has entered adulthood. Louv is concerned about the rise of a new mythology of technology emphasizing the coming "transhuman" or "posthuman" era where there is little love or empathy for the natural world. The author doesn't have to worry about these developments given the treasure-trove of material he shares about the diversity of the nature principle. Here are just a few of the many mind-stretching ideas, trends, theories, and developments covered in the book:
• A scientist has coined the term "solastalgia" to refer to the pain we experience when we withdraw from a natural place we love and cherish.
• Many health-care facilities are using nature-based therapy, green exercise, and animal-assisted therapies to treat people with myriad health problems.
• "Woodland therapy" and "care farming" are taking root in many countries.
• Families and friendships experience deeper bonding through shared times in nature.
• A backyard revolution is brewing with gardens and biodiversity.
• In Portland, Oregon, elected officials, public agencies and voters have quietly accepted a new re-wilding paradigm of nature in the city.
• Urban agriculture is a growing phenomenon.