What is NDD?

Nature-Deficit Disorder (NDD) is a problem identified by Richard Louv, a journalist, author, and recipient of the Audubon Medal, which is an award “given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection.”


Mr. Louv was the first to formally recognize a growing problem in our increasingly-technological world:

people, especially children, are spending less and less time outdoors. According to the Children & Nature Network, NDD can be at least partly responsible for:

  • Reduced use of the senses
  • Difficulty with concentration or focus
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Unhealthy emotional well-being
  • Increased susceptibility to physical illness

Mr. Louv believes — as do we — that regularly exposing ourselves to nature, no matter how old we are, can do a lot for our well-being. But perhaps the most important and effective way to put a stop to NDD is to instill a love of nature in our children. Not only does this help ensure that future generations will be more appreciative of the world around them, but it will also encourage their parents, teachers, and the other adults in their lives to reconnect.

Perhaps Mr. Louv himself best explains the problem of — and the solution to — NDD in “The Sense of Wonder:”

“For all of human history and human prehistory, children in their formative years have been going outside and spending much of their time either playing or working in nature. … Within a matter of two or three decades, we’re seeing the possible virtual disappearance of that kind of activity among kids. It’s in us. It’s part of us. We’re genetically wired to need nature.

“Beyond that, there’s the issue just of wonder. … That moment when you were three or four and went out into the backyard — maybe crawled out into the weeds and found a rock and turned it over and found that you were not alone in the universe. … Or when you went out in the woods and just listened to the leaves move. That moment of wonder is the source of all spiritual growth. How can we cut that off? How can we cut children off from that source of wonder?

“We’re in danger of doing that.”