Research and discussion for citizens and decision makers

Neal Peirce

‘Greenscaping’ for health

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What if we got really serious about “greenscaping” our neighborhoods, towns, and cities — bringing them closer, by plantings, building design, nurturing parks both great and small, to the natural world that preceded them?

It may be much more important than we think. Journalist-visionary Richard Louv argues that in an age of overwhelming technology, as we dive ever deeper “into a sea of circuitry,” we need more than ever to relate to the natural world. And that we embrace “The Nature Principle,” title of his latest book (subtitled “Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder,” published by Algonquin Books).

Louv’s earlier book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” sparked creation of an international movement to reconnect children with the natural world.

Now he’s taking the case a step further — to suggest that all of us need deeper, daily contact with the nature to “feel fully alive” — to shake free of our own “nature deficit disorder,” to expand our senses, to reignite our sense of awe. In the process, he argues, we’ll not just be freer of the modern tangle of technology’s constant drumbeat. We also tap nature’s power to calm and focus our minds, improve our physical and spiritual health, boost our mental acuity, and do better both in interpersonal relationships and careers.

Cities themselves, Louv argues, need to pay more attention to the Nature Principle — “Vitamin N” — if they’re to be livable, sustaining, successful homes for growing majorities of mankind.

Even in the densest cities, he notes, there can opportunities for islands of green and opportunities for us to relate to animals, both domestic and wild.  MORE

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