In The Nature Principle, Richard Louv’s underlying belief is that connecting with the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit and survival.
To support this bold claim, he uncovers what is an extremely persuasive body of evidence – theoretical, anecdotal and empirical – that nature really does have a significant power to restore, heal and energize.
If you weren’t already aware of the healing power of nature, you will be even after reading just the first few chapters of this book. The book is based on what Louv has defined in his earlier books as the concept of Nature Deficit Disorder – the gap between people and nature. To restore this gap requires a transformation; a reunion of humans with the rest of nature. Louv seems to be happily devoting his life to helping people identify this gap, and giving them practical ideas how to bridge it.
He asks what our lives would be like if we were as fully immersed in nature as we are in technology. Not that he ever comes across as a 21st century Luddite. On the contrary, Louv is as keen to make optimal use of technological advances as anyone else. But he argues that there has to be more than technology filling our lives, even going as far as saying that “the future will belong to the nature-smart – those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of nature, and who balance the virtual with the real.”
The Nature Principle is an extremely well-researched book. The author’s thoughts are well-arranged, and he communicates in an easy and persuasive manner. But it’s no “pie in the sky” approach. He is extremely practical about how people can connect with nature, and is particularly passionate about how nature can be introduced into school and college curricula. He would also like to see “time in nature” prescribed by doctors and psychologists, which clearly makes sense.
In my own experience, I fully agree with Louv: “Nature can help us feel fully alive.” Reading this book may be your first step towards agreeing with both of us.
You might also be interested in the Children & Nature Network, which grew out of this work.