Target: US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Richard Louv, Founder of the Children & Nature Network
Goal: Commend broad-based collaborative efforts to connect families with nature and improve physical and psychological health of children in the United States.
Richard Louv is the author of bestselling books including ‘The Last Child in the Woods’ and ‘The Nature Principle.’ In his work, the child advocacy expert argues that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development. Research has linked the lack of nature in the lives of children with declining childhood health, including high rates of obesity, depression, and attention deficit disorder affecting those living in the United States. Louv coined the term ‘nature-deficit disorder’ which is not a clinical condition but refers to a loss in the sense of unity with the natural world. This lack of communion with other living things can have negative effects on children’s health and psychological well-being. The nature deficit also weakens environmental stewardship and ecological literacy that is fundamental to resolving environmental issues.
US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is committed to the issue of reconnecting children and their families with nature in order to improve their quality of life. Jewell is a member of the Children & Nature Network founded by Louv. The network engages Americans with the natural world through innovation, research, collaboration, and support of grassroots leadership. Recently Jewell and Louv appeared in Washington D.C. to discuss conservation topics and the growing disconnection from nature and the negative consequences it has on Americans, particularly children.
The Children & Nature Network argues that a connection to nature is a human right. All people should have a right to the health benefits provided by the natural world, and its conservation and promotion are necessary for the healthy development of children. Interest in ecology and participating in outdoor activities utilizing natural resources also fosters a connection between other people. Networking through the common interest of nature decreases social isolation that is frequent among the current population of youth. The Children & Nature Network urges schools to allow more time spent outside. It also encourages urban families not to give up on sharing the enjoyment of outdoor recreation and inspires them to take action to restore local fauna and flora.
Please sign this petition to applaud leaders of this organization for promoting conservation and improving children’s health.
Dear US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel and Richard Louv, Founder of the Children & Nature Network
I would like to applaud your involvement with the Children & Nature Network and its important work to improve public health and promote conservation by bringing awareness to ‘nature-deficit disorder.’ Through your leadership, communities all over the United States are acknowledging the major role a connection with nature plays in healthy child development. You are helping children reclaim their right to play, learn, and grow in nature and experience the tremendous physical and psychological benefits of regular engagement with the natural world.
Thank you for providing much needed education, social support, innovative ideas, and hope to resolve the lack of nature in our urban communities. With the increased attention given to this issue, society has the potential to reduce health issues associated with sedentary behavior and improve emotional well-being by encouraging a sense of communion with nature at a young age. Increased interaction and interest in nature also provides families with more connections to other people, combatting loneliness and improving public health. It is well documented that social ties are protective of health especially in vulnerable populations including children.
Please continue your efforts to confront the disconnect between youth and the natural world and lead us back to nature.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jonf728 via Flickr.