Nature Deficit Disorder

Sometimes, you read an interview and it hits home, hard. Last month’s issue of The Sun, a magazine out of Chapel Hill that is among the most eclectic in print, featured an interview with Richard Louv, a journalist and writer who has written several books.

His latest is Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin Books). Instead of trying to tell you why you should read this article (and the book), I’ll just re-print the magazine’s teaser:

In the days before sprawling residential subdivisions, children at play could often be seen traipsing through meadows or climbing trees. Now it’s more common to find boys and girls being shuttled from school to computer to soccer practice as part of a fast-paced schedule that leaves little time for daydreaming or exploring nature. The result, says journalist Richard Louv, is “nature-deficit disorder.” Louv coined this term, which is not a medical diagnosis, to call attention to the absence of nature in children’s lives. In his newest book, he ties the lack of time spent in nature to everything from childhood obesity to psychological disorders. Suburban sprawl and busy schedules are just two factors keeping children out of nature, Louv says. Others include the strict focus on academics, what he calls the “criminalization of play,” media-fueled fear of child abductions, and overzealous environmental campaigns.

Urban centers

I’ve lived most of my life in small towns and suburbs, but anyone who hasn’t visited downtown Charlotte lately needs to experience North Carolina’s hippest metro scene. All within a 10-block square area there’s the Carolina Panthers’ stadium and the Bobcats’ arena, the bank skyscrapers, thousands of condominiums, dozens of restaurants and clubs, Discovery Place, a huge library, museums, hotels, street art, a trolley system, and soon a light rail. It is just a fun place to visit. Raleigh is trying, but the downtown residents in Charlotte is what separates the two towns. The Queen City is on the rise.


Three weeks ago the cast came off my ankle, and I’m rediscovering the joy of putting one foot in front of the other and moving myself. No crutches, no walking boot, just a wary eye on curbs and roots to keep from re-breaking the darn thing. Spring is in the air and I’m walking. As the T-shirt proclaims, life is good.

The demise of 24

I got hooked just last year (Season 5), watched Season 2 on DVD, and eagerly anticipated the start of this year. Guess what? So far it’s been mostly disappointing, to the point where I may finally be able to break my addiction. Perhaps its just me, but this year writers seem bent on passing off bloody scenes — biting faces off, drilling into people’s bodies, shooting friends in the head — as intrigue. Besides, the nuclear bomb backdrop is a bit too much. Edgy has moved toward cliché. I’ll give it a few more episodes.

— Scott McLeod

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