The Nature Principle by Richard Louv

At the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto, Canada

At the Leslie Street Spit on the waterfront in Toronto, Canada, 2011

I’m reading a book that I find very meaningful.  It’s The Nature Principle by Richard Louv.  What I find important about Richard Louv’s book is that he’s looking at the great help humans receive from time spent in nature.  He has coined the phrase nature deficit disorder that many of us suffer from. He doesn’t deny the crisis we’re in. But he talks about worldwide actions by ordinary people that are bringing people and nature together for the benefit of humans and wildlife.  This doesn’t always mean going off into the wilds—although some people may have the means and desire to do this.  He talks about the ways we city dwellers can be in the natural world, for example: in gardens, parks, through learning about the wildlife that lives beside us in cities.  He points to the necessity of our connecting to nature to develop our love for the natural.  He imagines a future where, through our actions today, we live in nature in our cities, homes, work and play places.

The Limits of Language

Old Roots at Kortright Conservation Centre, Ontario

Old tree roots by a hiking trail at Kortright Conservation Centre in southern Ontario, May 2010

I’ve started this blog to make our links to nature more conscious.  We arise from nature, after all.  However, many of us feel severed from nature as we increasingly live in cities and are focused on electronic devices. We often don’t see a place for ourselves in the world that we more readily see as natural—the world of trees, plants, other animals, mountain ranges, prairies, deserts, oceans….

The English language doesn’t help with this.  Perhaps there are languages in the world that do better at noting or suggesting our bond with nature.  In English, we separate the human and the natural as we assign different words to each.  I believe we need new words for what it’s imperative that we consider.  Perhaps something like humanature would be a start.  I don’t mean to suggest that a few new words would magically reunite us with who we are, but they might be pointers that help us.