Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Richard Louv Book

The Nature PrincipleI am currently reading Richard Louv's newest book, The Nature Principle which builds upon his work for Last Child in the Woods but focuses this time on adults.  If you haven't read Last Child in the Woods yet, it's worth a read (or rather, a listen - Louv's writing style packs a lot of varied information into several hundred pages and I think his books are an easier "read" via audiobook during the commute or on a long road trip).

In Last Child in the Woods, we learned about how modern life has created a new epidemic in children, something Louv called Nature Deficit DisorderThe Nature Principle is packed with information on studies and experiences suggesting that adults, too, can have Nature Deficit Disorder.  There is a lot of evidence that many of our common psychological ailments (depression, schizophrenia, etc) are either caused by lack of nature exposure or can be corrected or eased by nature therapy.

We probably haven't done enough research on nature therapy for specific diseases, but I definitely buy into the concept of nature as a healing force.  When my husband, Nathan, worked in Glacier National Park and I would take a week away from my highly stressful software engineering job to hike and be completely disconnected from the grid, my whole outlook on life changed.  I thought that was just because I was on vacation, but there is a big difference between how I feel after a week in a European city and how I feel after a week in the backcountry.  I think Louv is on to something.  Check out The Nature Principle if you're interested in learning more!

Case in "point": I am one happy hiker in this photo!
Pitamakin Point - Glacier National Park - July 2007

Friday, June 24, 2011

Coming to you from DC

I realize this blog has basically shut down for the past ten months, but I can't say that I didn't expect this to happen.  Having the baby has been an amazing and humbling experience.  I now liken parenting to engineering or being a doctor in that it takes up most of your time and you end up doing a lot of troubleshooting.  That being said, I have learned A LOT about parenting in the last ten months and am brimming with eco-topics for this blog.

First, you should know that some things have changed in our personal lives (beyond the normal shock of becoming a parent).  The biggest is that we've moved to the Washington DC area!  My husband, Nathan, is now a Park Ranger on the National Mall and we live in an apartment complex in Alexandria, VA.  While I LOVE having a million kid-centered things to do every day and a great public transportation system, living in the middle of urbania, with its traffic and non-existent yards, has forced me to be more creative in how I keep nature a central part of Alison's life.  It is not easy and I'll be discussing this in future posts.  Perhaps some of you can relate and share your good ideas with me as well!

 May 2011 - Alison enjoying the waterfront in Old Town, Alexandria

Finally, I decided to turn on the blog ads.  I figure anything we earn (probably close to nothing) can go straight to Alison's college fund.  Hopefully you can just ignore the ones you don't care about and enjoy the blog content.  I'm looking forward to posting weekly on Saturdays, so stay tuned!