For children, Nature comes in many forms. A new-born calf, a pet that lives and dies, a fort nestling in stinging nettles, a worn path through the woods. Whatever shape it takes, Nature offers a child a larger world, separate from his or her parents, and, unlike television, it does not steal time but amplifies it.

Many of us grew into adulthood taking Nature’s gifts for granted; we assumed (when we thought of it at all) that generations to come would receive these same gifts. But something has changed. Now we see the emergence of what I have come to call Nature-deficit disorder. This term is ...


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