Friday, September 11, 2009

Nature Deficit Disorder

Have you or your child been diagnosed with NDD? After all the disorders being defined these days, there must already be some research and treatment in place for this one.

Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD): an illness affecting the central nervous system in which a person's lack of exposure to the outdoor environment can cause damaging and/or fatal misunderstangs of the earth's flora and fauna; professionally regarded as a link to depression, ADD, and obesity

In a recent NY Times article entitled "How to Lick a Slug," columnist Nicholas Kristof mentioned this term (first coined by author Richard Louv) after a hike he and his daughter accomplished in the Pacific Crest Trail. He discusses the problems children face these days being out of touch with nature. It's an important topic, bringing up issues such as environment preservation, children's mental/emotional/physical health, and quality relationships among families.

Costa Rica Outward Bound obviously can't agree more with the need to bring people back into touch with nature; or shall we say, bring people to nature for the first time. It is through these experiences in the rainforests and staying at homestays that our urban students learn how to cook for the first time, wash a dish, be responsible, learn about plants and bugs, get dirty without caring, gain social skills by associating with new people, discovering ways to preserve the environment, and find new appreciation for their family relationships. Some lucky students discover a new drive for life, break out of their depression, and/or find that they no longer need certain medications to get through challenges.

Yes, indeed, there is something to be said about a connection to the outdoors. Join us in our fight against NDD.

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