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New Research on Human / Animal Relationships


April 14, 2020

Richard Louv - GCA Medalist in the News

Noted author and the GCA's 2020 Margaret Douglas Medal recipient, Richard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the consequences of human alienation from nature. In his landmark book entitled, Last Child in the Woods, Louv explored the impact on individual health and the social fabric as children spend more time indoors, citing significant spikes in obesity, a dampening of creativity, depression, and attention deficit disorder. The term nature-deficit disorder caught on with conservation and environmental organizations and is now a rallying cry for the international New Nature Movement to connect children, families, and whole communities to the healthful benefits of regular exposure to nature.

In his new book, Our Wild Calling, Mr. Louv writes about human connection to animals and the importance of coexisting with them as being essential to the survival of all species. Along with personal stories of transformational encounters with different types of animals, he discusses new scientific research that suggests most animals have complicated emotional, sensory, and social lives. Instead of a human-centered world, he sees an alternative — a world where humans see our relationship with animals as part of an interconnected tapestry of living beings.

For profoundly changing environmental education, Mr. Louv has been selected to receive the GCA's 2020 Margaret Douglas Medal, which is awarded for notable service to the cause of conservation education. He is co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children and Nature Network, which focuses on building communities where families incorporate nature into their everyday lives and the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to a healthy earth. Partly inspired by Mr. Louv’s message, the U.S. Congress passed the No Child Left Inside Act to fund environmental education.


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