The Nature Principle by Richard Louv focuses on the effects nature has on human’s psychology, emotions, physical health and spirituality.
On May 2, Louv discussed on the Puyallup campus his book as well as his recent trip to Newtown, Conn., where he spoke to victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
In a society that is heavily immersed in electronics, there must be a balance of nature to keep up with growing technological advancements. Discovering that a connection to the natural world can boost mental acuity and creativity, Louv emphasizes how nature can promote health and wellness.
Attending the event at Pierce College where many students and faculty eagerly awaiting Louv’s in-depth symposium on The Nature Principle. Pierce students such as Kathy Ifft who was at the event discussed what she found interesting about Louv’s discussion regarding society’s higher demand for the natural and technological world.
“I was intrigued with his concepts as far as our connection with our mentality,” Ifft said. “He said in all of his research that he never did find anyone who could disprove him which I found interesting and enlightening.”
In The Nature Principle Louv argues that the more high-tech the society, the more forward moving it is with nature.
Louv notes that while restoration and conservation of nature is necessary, people also restore themselves. Society must reconnect with nature in order for people to live in it, not with it. Ultimately, Louv’s goal of The Nature Principle is to not only strengthen bonds between society and nature, but also to solidify bonds between people within the community.
While visiting Newtown, Louv’s focus was not on gun control or safety but on how parents can prescribe nature to their children instead of various medications to keep them focused and calm. Louv later went on to discuss an article published in The New York Times reporting that one in five high school aged boys is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Hinting at a correlation between a lack of nature and ADD, Louv went on to discuss the point is to “create meadow memories and rethink our environment to give the children and ourselves a break.”
Pierce College psychology instructor Cynthia Cowan-Grewe, who attended the live read, said what Louv described struck her as rather interesting and intellectually satisfying.
“What surprised me was when he talked about how some people in their teens and twenties feel like it is too late, that students wouldn’t ever learn about nature,” Cowan-Grewe said. “I liked his idea of balancing nature with technology as well as some of the advantages of being in nature with the psychological advantages and creative thinking as a result.”
According to Louv, numerous experts from pediatricians to biologists have studied for decades on the effects that nature has on people by experimenting in laboratories with rat test subjects.
Unaware of the major flaws of conducting these experiments indoors, experts put two groups of rats in separate situations, naturalistic and artificial. The results were conclusive but inaccurate because none of these experts had thought of testing people, or even rats outside in the natural world.
Louv shared a story about the effects nature had on his father as he moved from an area rich in nature to the city.
He went on to discuss how as the years went by his father’s health quickly declined until his passing where upon Louv came to the realization of his father’s contentment and joy while interacting with nature.
“I have really great childhood memories of my father taking me and my brother fishing in the Ozarks or working on the garden in the backyard. I remember following him through the backyard as he gardened while moving rocks and bones out of his way as he dug,” Louv said. “Loved those moments, but over time my father spent less time gardening and fishing. He began to get ill and drank too much although his dream was always to move to the Table Rock Lake, build a house and go fishing every day.
The affluent lifestyle he had become accustomed to while being away from nature destroyed him and caused a lot of his misery as he got older.”
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