Daily Archives: July 17, 2007

Natureless – No Child Left Outside

Human beings are an integral part of the natural world. We arise from it, we are composed of it, nourished and sustained by it, and to the natural world we return.Within nature, we create culture – a class of artificial environments – both material and mental – and we spend much of our time living within them. Over the millennia we have become accustomed to the myriad interrelationships between nature, of which we are composed and culture, which we create. At the present time however, it seems we are arriving at a threshold. One might describe this eventuality as a sort of theoretical point of no return between nature and culture.It’s a bit science-fiction, I suppose. I offer it as a point of aesthetic/philosophical consideration. What would happen to us if we reared an entire generation of human beings whose only necessary connections to the world were connections to culture and not to nature?We can speculate how it might be in our homes if our children were to consume only artificial things; and if they were in constant contact with electronic media.” This generation – whose lives would be composed entirely of culturally-mediated experience – what tenuous connections would they have to the natural world? Would they know of it? Would they understand that they are a defining part of it? Would they fear it for all its unpredictable qualities?*These perceptions are echoed and charted in Dave Pollard’s environmental philosophy blog, How to Save the World. “The physical theory, espoused by anthropologists and environmentalists, is that we fear nature because we’ve been physically separated from it for so long that we’ve become ignorant of its beauty and grace and peacefulness, and prone to believe the sensationalist nonsense of nature being cruel and savage.”Pollard’s Chart:*There is a considerable volume of research and exposition on subjects related to the kinds of scenarios I have related above. Journalist Richard Louv coined the term “Nature-Deficit Disorder,” in his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. The list of those who are noticing and commenting upon the problem of a nature-deprived generation is already alarmingly long. *I often find myself driving through American middle-class neighborhoods, asking myself, “Where are the children?” *digital mashup: TFD, 2007

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