Richard Louv is an author known for coining the term ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’. His groundbreaking book Last Child in the Woods helped establish him as a thought leader in the current movement to help children re-embrace nature and unplug from their overly digitized lives. His second book, The Nature Principle, addressed the need for both adults and children alike to connect with nature in meaningful ways. His third and most recent book, Vitamin N, is more like a how-to manual on connecting with nature, offering practical tips and methods for engaging with nature on a daily basis.
I have known Richard and his family since childhood, since he is a longtime friend of my parents. Our families, along with several others, used to go group camping around Southern California. These excursions were deeply meaningful to me because it provided a type of adventure that was about exploring the natural world. It was something that I connected with from a young age, and still to this day I feel the need for my daily dose of Vitamin N, or else I just feel off. Luckily, I don’t have to go very far to unplug, I walk into my garden and instantly feel transported. That is one of the reasons I am drawn to creating gardens, I know people need them for their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Richard knows how much I enjoyed growing up around nature, and he describes my experience in an excerpt in his new book:
The excerpt reads:
Erin Lau, thirty-one, recalls how an early path through the canyon woods in San Diego led her to a creative career and calling.
“When I was young, the things that really captivated me were outdoor explorations, basic wilderness survival, and stories set in nature,” she says. “I yearned to live in the countryside or the forest as a child, and made the best of what I could in our stucco suburbia.” She recalls growing up in San Diego, “always building forts with my friends in the canyons the surrounded my house, trying out new building methods, being inspired by Native American huts and lifestyles that I would see in field trips or in books.” Never mind that the neighborhood’s community association would send people to tear down her tree houses. She rebuilt. And rebuilt.
Today she is a landscape architect in Seattle. “My work is creating spaces in the built environment for natural life to flourish where it otherwise would not,” she says. “Nature itself has inspired this work by its ability to regenerate, recycle and use what it already has. When I look back at my childhood, I realize that I didn’t need fully wild natural surroundings to inspire me. I took what I had. Just the basics can do: trees, waterways, some insects and birds- imagination can do the rest. I’m grateful that my imagination was strong enough to fill in the blanks with a more idealized nature, back then, because now that’s what I do every day as my job!”.
I highly recommend Richard’s book to anyone who feels they need a dose of Vitamin N, and especially for those who think they don’t need it!
You can find it here on Amazon.