On Earth Day, about 100 people gathered at Ridgedale Library to hear author Richard Louv. Louv wrote the bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.
Louv asked the audience to "imagine a life where we are as immersed in nature as we are in technology."
According to Louv, 80 percent of Americans live in metropolitan areas, and the reduced exposure to the natural world has a negative impact.
"Exposure to nature is essential for a child's healthy development," he said.
Louv cited studies that indicate that contact with nature can reduce the symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Louv added that some pediatricians in Portland, Oregon are actually "prescribing nature" for patients as part of a project in cooperation with the city's park system.
When it comes to nature, Louv said, "Conservation is no longer enough. Now we need to create it."
Louv's book offers suggestions for businesses, schools, and communities to take action. More information can be found at Louv's non-profit Children & Nature Network at www.childrenandnature.org.