Saskatchewan

Are you suffering from nature deficiency disorder?

Brian Keating, a naturalist who spent 30 years working with the Calgary Zoo says children aren't spending time in nature, possibly suffering from nature deficiency disorder.

Not enough time outdoors leads kids to become disconnected, says naturalist

You may be suffering from 'nature deficiency disorder,' and not even know it.

Brian Keating, a naturalist who spent 30 years working with the Calgary Zoo, says children aren't spending time in nature, and as a result, they are becoming disconnected from the world.

"We may be raising a generation of kids that are tuned in to electronics, but we are raising a generation that is tuning out from what makes us human," said Brian Keating, a naturalist who spent 30 years working with the Calgary Zoo.

Keating teaches anthropology at the University of Calgary and he also travels the world to see exotic animals and places. He was in Moose Jaw on Friday to give the key note at the Nature Conservancy of Canada's national meetings.

Keating credits author Richard Louv for coining the phrase nature deficiency disorder in his book, Last Child in the Woods. 

Speaking from experience

Brian Keating, a naturalist and anthropologist at the University of Calgary, says people may be suffering from nature deficiency disorder and not even know it. (Courtesy of Brian Keating)
Keating was born in Medicine Hat, Alta., but his parents moved the family to Long Island, NY near a forested area where Keating says he would "blow off steam." 

"If I grew up in today's society, I would have been given drugs to calm me down. I would have been classified as a hyper-active kid," says Keating.  

Keating says the more time people spend in nature, the more curious they become about their surroundings and want to learn and explore more. He says that curiosity exists within him today. 

He often speaks to school groups about the importance of being out in nature. He tells students that as human beings, we are nothing more than well-dressed, big-brained gophers. 

He goes on to explain that humans need the same thing gophers need, including, clean air, productive soil and clean water. 

He says that's what makes us human; we need to stay in touch with that, otherwise the consequences could be dire. 

Signs you could be suffering from nature deficiency disorder :

  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Lack of energy (resulting in obesity or weight gain).
  • Lack of excitement about life.
  • Inability to get unplugged from devices. 

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