Review on Last Child in the Woods - Book Report/Review Example

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For decades, the world has been talking about how alienation from nature could hinder the healthy development of our children, does Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods say anything new? A columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Richard Louv has written several books on child rearing…
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Book Review on Last Child in the Woods
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Download file to see previous pages Supporting his thesis is his description of youth-nature relationship in three frontiers. In the first frontier, European early settlers and their families moved further westward, having direct and useful contact with nature. The ruggedness of the natural world compelled parents and their children to expand creative and functional ways of dealing with it. It was in the second frontier, by the end of World War II that suburban expansion developed in the West. American families distanced from direct contact with nature however were still idealistically attached to it. Children may not have dwelled on the grassland or explored ravines in the second frontier; however they acted as if they did. The beginning of the third frontier in the 1990s marked the end of the ancestral and cultural connection to nature. Americans became electronically disengaged from it. Romanticism of nature lost its significance to the experience of American life, resulting in: Limited access to nature. Parents warn children not to play in vacant lots to avoid complaints from neighbors. The disappearance of public lands and open spaces is attributable to the development of more housing for the growing populace. Outdoor activities become restricted. Fear of Nature. Children are not allowed to wander around in the woods for fear of getting bitten by a snake or getting lost. National parks become places of abduction and murder. Children are purposely disconnected from nature. Environmentalists raise public awareness of biological decline. Animal rights advocates discourage activities such as fishing and hunting. Playtime is controlled. In school, academic importance and career success are emphasized. Team sports, planned learning activities, serious homework loads, and parent-structured “play dates” take the place of free play. The activities children usually enjoy such as leisurely lying in the grass, looking at the clouds, and counting the stars are nearing extinction. Electronics invade homes. Different forms of entertainment such as television, video games, computers and the Internet have promoted mental and physical inactivity and stagnation. Technology-based learning practices are highlighted. Academic syllabus focuses on reading, writing, and mathematics, frequently leaving classrooms lacking in nature experience. Other scientific disciplines have replaced traditional natural sciences (Brown). Louv’s depressing investigation illustrates in great detail how the youth today fall prey to “nature deficit disorder.” The author’s gentle style makes readers unable to see underneath the facade and recognize the kind of solution he is promoting. His description of the problem is fascinating, although it is the resolution that the readers yearn for. Louv concludes that a sense of marvel and pleasure in nature should be at the very core of environmental literacy and that the key to recovery would be to transform the way natural history is taught in the academe. For him, any kind of natural experience is beneficial. However, in his argument, he does not appear to differentiate among outdoor experiences. Indeed he supports free contacts with nature repeatedly in his book and subsequently laments that not a soul is learning one of the most structured advances of all: naming things. One cannot help but wonder at the author’s skill to search for and collect various studies shedding light on his apprehensions about a nature deficit dis ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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