Tag Archives: nature deficit disorder

Is this film the tipping point for a more free-range childhood?

George Bernard Shaw allegedly once advised that if you are going to espouse radical ideas, you should wear a respectable suit. David Bond, director and protagonist of the new documentary film Project Wild Thing, clearly has no time for Shaw’s advice: at one point he appears in a huge squirrel costume, manically leafleting a shopping mall in an effort to switch uninterested consumers on to the joys of nature (a scene that crops up in the trailer at the end of this post).

Project Wild Thing, like Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods and my own Sowing the Seeds report, takes up the challenge of reconnecting children with nature and the outdoors. At the start of the film Bond (channelling Pete, the longsuffering dad in the hit BBC sitcom Outnumbered) tries to pull his 3- and 5-year old kids away from their screens and go outside to play. Faced with stubborn resistance, he appoints himself Marketing Director of Nature to, in his words, “flog the benefits of nature to the public”. (And he really did – I blogged about one of his schemes last summer.)

David Bond with business card Continue reading

Can you match your screen time with wild time – and encourage children to do the same?

The movement to reconnect children with nature has just had a shot in the arm, with the launch yesterday of a new website and campaign to get 1 million children away from screens and out of doors. Called Project Wild Thing, the campaign is the brainchild of the film-makers Green Lions, along with supporters that include the National Trust, Play England, and food giant Arla.

Screenshot for project wild thing Web page Continue reading

Is ‘nature deficit disorder’ the right rallying cry?

Rosa in a riverThe term ‘nature deficit disorder’ – as used by the National Trust in its recent report – has come in  for criticism, in a Guardian article, and in a post by playwork academic Wendy Russell on Play England’s Love Outdoor Play website. I share some of the concerns raised. But I think too much semantics is being made of the phrase. The critique also takes too little account of what the children and nature movement is actually saying and doing.

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National Trust calls for action on children and nature

NT Natural Childhood report coverThe National Trust this morning announced a two-month inquiry into children’s relationship with nature. Launching the inquiry with the publication of a report written by leading naturalist and broadcaster Stephen Moss, the Trust – Britain’s biggest charity, with over four million members – calls for concerted action to reconnect children with the natural world.

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Why does nature matter to children? What’s the evidence?

Sowing the seeds literature review coverWhat happens when children spend time in natural environments – and what happens if they do not? What does the empirical evidence say? And what other insights might the research literature hold? These were the questions that I wanted to answer in my literature review [pdf link] for the Sowing the Seeds project – published on 17th November, alongside the main report. Continue reading

London moves to reconnect children with nature

Sowing the seeds report front coverMy new report Sowing the Seeds: Reconnecting children with nature was launched at City Hall yesterday morning. The report, written for the London Sustainable Development Commission (the body that advises the Mayor of London on sustainability) sets out a new vision for children’s relationship with nature, and maps out an action plan to reintroduce nature into their lives.

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The outdoor child should be an ‘indicator species’ for London

pond dippingMy new draft report  Sowing the Seeds: Reconnecting children with nature calls for the outdoor child to be seen as an ‘indicator species’. The report, written for the London Sustainable Development Commission (the body that advises the Mayor of London on sustainability) argues that, just as with salmon or house sparrows, the presence of children out of doors should be seen as a measure of the quality of neighbourhoods, London Boroughs and the capital as a whole.

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