Publication Day: The Nature Principle by Richard Louv

The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need.”

Richard Louv changed how we view and interact with nature in the New York Times bestseller Last Child in the Woods, which sparked an international movement to reconnect children with nature and introduced the term “nature-deficit disorder.” Publishing today, his new book The Nature Principle (read an excerpt at bottom) is a call to action for the rest of us to also reconnect with the natural world.

Does your daily nature intake include running on the treadmill with a forest scene on the TV monitor in front of you? Or perhaps playing WII tennis with your kids – instead of playing outside in a real tennis court? We all – kids and adults alike – are suffering from “nature-deficit disorder.”

In The Nature Principle, Louv discusses how we can create a healthier balance between technology and nature, so that we can experience the best of technology and nature in our lives. He shows us how tapping into the restorative powers of the natural world can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. As he says in his introduction, The Nature Principle is “about the power of living in nature—not with it, but in it. We are entering the most creative period in history. The twenty-first century will be the century of human restoration in the natural world.”

Cities, communities, and organizations around the country are embracing this movement. In fact, May 6th has officially been declared the Richard Louv and Children and Nature Day in the city of San Diego! Louv is giving a call to action to change the way we live, and how much better off we’ll be for it. Check out Richard’s website and the Children & Nature Network on how to join the movement.

To celebrate the publication of The Nature Principle, we’re giving away three copies. Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page telling us about your favorite outdoor activity and you’ll automatically be entered.



“Deprive an individual of everything that nurtured them — and you’re going to have a mess.  Deprive a species of everything that nurtured us — you have 21st century Americans.  We grew up in the wild, and when we moved from the African veldt to the European and North American forests, the wild went with us.  Now we have set up an elaborate society designed to strip us of the environment that made us — and Richard Louv is speaking out, inspirationally, on why it doesn’t have to be this way.”–Carl Pope, Chairman, The Sierra Club

“Put the remote down and get outside. Richard Louv’s new book is a refreshingly personal and eloquent case for building nature-smart communities that will not only protect the diversity of life on the planet, but also sustain our communities and ourselves.”—David Yarnold, President & CEO of The National Audubon Society

“Richard Louv seeks through his latest book to inspire a new social network that ensures nature is an essential and everyday part of modern life, community, and business. This is an important and powerful vision that offers us a blueprint for a better world and happier, healthier inhabitants.”–Sally Jewell, President & CEO of REI

“Wonderful! The Nature Principle is a splendid synthesis, gathering abundant evidence for a truth that should be achingly obvious to all, but has somehow been hiding behind the gleam and flash of our contemporary concerns: our health, our creativity, and our basic sanity depend upon regular contact and interchange with the living land around us.”–David Abram, author of Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous

“Our alienation from the rest of Creation represents a fundamental shift in human evolution. Louv has eloquently documented our schism from nature and the very real physical and psychic consequences. This book provides a way back to where we belong, a world full of reverence, joy and discovery.”–David Suzuki, author of Sacred Balance


Excerpt From the Nature Principle

44 Comments On This Post:

May 10, 2011
10:34 am
S. Campbell says...

Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Walking with my 81 year old mother each morning, it is amazing how excited she gets at each blossom, every unfurling leaf, the upshoot of a sudden mushroom. She has Alzheimer’s. Each day is new for her. And nature provides the new like nothing else can.

May 10, 2011
10:35 am
celeste says...

Looks good!

May 10, 2011
10:40 am
Benjamin Vogt says...

I’d love it! Magic number machine, hear me….

May 10, 2011
10:43 am
Phil says...

Indoors with a thermostat. Less inclined to go outdoors with the variability. Less used to the variability. More inclined to stay indoors with a thermostat. More used to the stability…

I was caught in a cycle like this for some time. Then realized it was crazy. Fortunately (and ironically?), synthetic fibers made it easier for me to be outside and comfortable — whether in colder weather or warmer. I also left my townhome and office and bought a house that has big windows and a big office. Now I eat and snack outside all the time, and enjoy the hammock for afternoon naps (sometimes with a blanket or two) and the sounds of many birds.

May 10, 2011
10:45 am
Erika Vieira says...

My favourite outdoor activity is biking to campus in the morning instead of taking the bus!

May 10, 2011
10:46 am
Amanda Welling says...

I like it!

May 10, 2011
11:07 am
Anne says...

Finally! I’m really looking forward to this book, and the inspiration it holds for all of us who need more Vitamin N!

May 10, 2011
11:22 am
Elizabeth says...

My first experiences outdoors as a child as our large garden. My family grew everything to eat, including cows and chickens to tend. They canned and cured as much as possible. Then when I was a young child my first trips to mountains on day trips in any season (Canada) and then as a youth camper and then working summers in the hotels. I have always felt the safest, and most at ease, and most confident in the mountains. My children are young (under 7 years), and their enjoyment and appreciation of the natural world is a direct reflection of my natural instinct and efforts. My favorite thing to do in nature. Slow walks and hikes in the Rocky Mountains, stopping to look a wildflowers, tree lichen, and listening to the forest. My daughter calls this Nature’s Voice (she’s 4 years). Richard’s first book is true to all the feelings and thoughts that I could never articulate like he does and all the contributors to the book. I have purchased one for each of my home playschool parents. They need to see the light too. Thank you Richard for all the inspiration and life changing moments you have helped others feel. I look forward to learning more in reading the Nature Principal.

May 10, 2011
11:26 am
Rebecca says...

I love walking outdoors, especially along streams or through the woods. I recently moved from a downtown condo to a more residential area in Milwaukee, and I have noticed a huge difference in the air quality, not to mention the feeling of calm I have when I’m around trees and nature. I loved living in an urban environment, but now I’m appreciating a sleepier, greener neighborhood.

May 10, 2011
11:28 am
Jan says...

As a mother of four young boys, I see the importance of getting them “out” all the time. When things are crazy and the boys are too excited a walk in the woods brings them back into balance. When my oldest one is feeling nervous or stressed, some time by the mountain creek is what he yearns for. I find it hard to sell this to other parents, however. Most want the children to get together and play — indoors, usually in front of a video game…. I want the kids to get out and build lean tos or some other kind of fort, or search for little creatures…. For Mother’s Day, my gift from my boys was 5+ hours in our yard, clearing away grass and helping create a more natural looking space (hopefully a space that will attract native birds, insects, etc). While they complained about the work being hard, they loved looking for worms, potato bugs, etc and talked about what it would look like when we finished. It was the best gift from them. They are already planning to put in a water source for birds and toads!

So while I feel like we’re (my family) working toward Richard Louv’s aspirations, I feel like it’s often an uphill battle. I would love to read this book and try to use it to influence some activities in my community.

May 10, 2011
11:36 am
Max says...

My favorite activity is taking time out of my workday (typical cubicle job) to look for frogs and skinks outside. Once, when the baby tree frogs were out in force, I counted more than 40 in a single day.

May 10, 2011
11:44 am
Kenneth Lo says...

I love heading into the park with my daughter and without a plan and seeing where the seasons and our senses lead us. We are fortunate to have a vast park nearby, but even when we’re walking through the city streets, there is always something of nature to experience. Thanks for your thoughtful books.

May 10, 2011
11:51 am
Carol Grubbs says...

I honestly believe in this. It brings one back to the mind of God.

May 10, 2011
11:53 am
Anna Mills says...

Our family has a tradition of springtime mushroom hunting. We all have our special places picked out well before the season starts. But my very favorite memory was when my toddler granddaughter found a morel right in our backyard. There had never been any there before or since. A wonderful surprise!

May 10, 2011
11:55 am
Marc Behrendt says...

I am a biologist, a science teacher, and a naturalist, and I totally agree with every Richard Louv states in Last Child. There is no question that children and adults today are natural world illiterate. Somehow we must find a way to turn society around to stop and smell the wildflowers, look at the bugs hovering around the lights, walk through the grass in bare feet, experience a warblers call!

May 10, 2011
12:01 pm
Jill Anderson says...

Going tent camping with my two daughters (9 and 6) by the South Toe River in North Carolina for a week every year. I see them play and pretend in the river all day (often joining them!), and I think, “this is what childhood is supposed to be.” They catch salamanders and crayfish, they pretend to be herbal medicine experts and grind up leaves, they invent adventures and stories. It’s magical.

May 10, 2011
12:12 pm
Debbie says...

Looking for animal tracks – definitely a favorite activity. I took some city kids to a county park last week and taught them a tracking game to help them learn to recognize subtle differences in the landscape that might indicate tracks. They were then able to find deer, geese, and dog tracks around the pond where we hiked. I’ve also done plaster casting with kids, which is a big hit.

May 10, 2011
12:14 pm
Debbie says...

Photographing and collecting live bugs! I have a young, aspiring entomologist coming next week to do a job shadow with me. We’ll be collecting local insects to display at an environmental fair.

May 10, 2011
12:14 pm
Anthony Lynn says...

My favourite activity is fly fishing and keeping an eye out for birds at the same time. Looks like a great book.

May 10, 2011
12:16 pm
Kathleen says...

I love hiking and camping with my kids. Few things bring you closer to nature than just slowly exploring it together.

May 10, 2011
12:23 pm
Shannon says...

I love being quiet in the woods and hearing what’s going on. But I also love being with my kids and watching what they get into, whether it’s tadpoles, mud, climbing trees, geocaching, playing an imaginative game or just blowing off steam.

Thanks for publishing another important book from Richard Louv!

May 10, 2011
12:25 pm
Laura says...

My favorite activity is spending time outside with my kids… planting seeds in our vegetable garden while watching the worms aerate the soil, hiking in the woods while taking time to meet a slug, or sitting around a tide pool to marvel at all the life inside.

May 10, 2011
12:59 pm
matkeltri says...

My favorite outdoor activity is playing in the backyard with the kids! Nothing cheers up cranky kids like a good game of tag, kicking a ball, or a watergun fight. The fresh air is good for all of us!

May 10, 2011
1:21 pm
Heather McCarthy says...

Nature is God’s cathedral.

May 10, 2011
2:04 pm
JP says...

My favorite activity is to just be outside enjoying whatever nature has to offer at that moment…the sound of the birds, a new flower blooming in my garden, the stars shining at night, a breathtaking sunset. The crazier life gets, the more I need that connection to the outdoors. I may have a crazy day at work, come home after dark with another day just like it waiting for me tomorrow. If I take just 10 minutes to sit outside in the garden to look at the stars, listen to the insects, smell the flowers, the craziness of the day just melts away like it never existed.

May 10, 2011
2:15 pm
Campbell Hoffman says...

My family and I love to hike, and it is something that keeps us anchored, connected to each other and the world around us. Excited to read this new book!

May 10, 2011
2:50 pm
Dora says...

I really enjoy kayaking and riding horses when I can.
Daily, I thoroughly enjoy my garden that I transformed from a terrible grey plot of dirt when I moved to my new apt last summer. It’s right outside my living room glass doors so even when I’m inside my living room, I can open up the door (using the screen door once the mosquitoes are out) and it feels like I’m sitting on my patio.
When I babysit my grandchildren they love to play outside on my patio and lawn. My great dane makes sure I get plenty of outdoor time with her too.
I’m very aware of the positive impact being outside has on me and make time to get out and play!

May 10, 2011
2:54 pm
Justin Lake says...

My favorite outdoor activity is going to my Sit Spot. I get to know the trees and the wildflowers and I love listening to the birds. I love watching the Sunrise or the clouds roll by and listening to the wind. Sometimes I’ll even receive a visit from coyote, deer, or raccoon. I just sit quietly and see whats happening.

May 10, 2011
3:37 pm
Norma Wilson says...

Liking what I’ve read so far. My favorite outdoor activity is walking among and touching plants, be it in a beautiful forest canopy or flowers along a street or in the yard. Need to feel at one with them. Earned me the nickname Tactile Mama!

May 10, 2011
5:13 pm
Holly S. says...

My favorite outdoor activity is trail running.

May 10, 2011
6:21 pm
Sarah says...

I enjoy kayaking personally as favorite Outdoor activity. And getting kids excited about nature. Looking forward to reading the

May 10, 2011
7:22 pm
Meighen says...

I’ve got an early signed copy and I am eagerly making my way through it. This book should be required/inspired reading for all. Nintendo should consider including the Nature Principle as a GWP (gift with purchase) with all Wii’s sold going forward.

May 10, 2011
8:21 pm
James Skwarok says...

Surfing is my favourite nature activity. It is nothing less than sublime, once you get to know the ocean’s ways. Every second you are immersed in beauty, power and life. Your mind wanders while you bob along, but when a set rolls through, you are propelled into the present. When you catch a wave and then glide along, you get to be part of that power and beauty, even if just for a moment.

May 10, 2011
9:23 pm
Jenae says...

My favorite outdoor activity is being in nature with my kids; either camping, hiking with our Nature Tribe, playing by the River or biking around town. I love sharing the love of nature with my children and myself!

May 11, 2011
12:13 am
Garth Tino says...

Besides climbing, skiing, mountaineering, paddling, mountain biking, trail running, and swimming in the ocean in great waves, my favorite outdoor activity is introducing others to the great outdoors. I like helping people develop a love and respect for wilderness, so it sticks with them, grows inside them and flourishes, and creates love inside them for years. I teach in an Outdoor Recreation degree program and love to share my love and inspire students to continue to visit nature long after they have taken my classes.

May 11, 2011
1:26 am
Julie Fogarty says...

My favorite outdoor activity is travelling to a remote destination either bushland or beach in a warm climate and watching the stars in the night sky.

I love contemplating the Moon at its fullest and the way it sits in the sky, gravity maintaining its position.

My passion is revelling in the beauty of nature with all its living participants and to photograph them, particularly wildflowers and butterflies.

May 11, 2011
3:18 am
Suzi says...

My favorite outdoor activity is gardening. My favorite two favorite places are Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island/Saratoga Passage and Camp Lane on the Siuslaw River in Oregon. My family rents the entire camp for a week every summer, we spend the days on the river. Theres a GIANT tree there – when the kids were little it took abt 12 of them to encircle the tree.

May 11, 2011
9:30 am
Michelle says...

I love being in my garden. My kids love digging in the dirt with me and caring for all our vegetables, berries, and trees.

May 11, 2011
2:02 pm
wendy says...

My favorite outdoor activity is nature photography. I love taking photos of birds, wildflowers, and my son outside enjoying nature.

May 12, 2011
9:45 am
Janice says...

I love inspiring other families to come out with us on our nature adventures… Rich motivated my husband and me to start a family nature club that now reaches about 500 followers with weekly opportunities and inspiration to get out there! Rich changed our lives with Last Child and we can’t wait to see what TNP will do for our society too!

May 12, 2011
10:38 am
Meaghan says...

My favourite outdoor activity is picking hickory nuts. My grandmother taught me at a young age to identify Shagbark Hickory trees, and together we have spent endless hours hiking and filling our backpacks, then cracking and shelling the nuts to use in our baking. I cannot wait to pass the tradition on to my daughters!

May 12, 2011
10:36 pm
Dana Burgess says...

Hands down my favorite outdoor activity is hiking with my family and dog. Nothing like it for really immersing yourself in nature.

May 12, 2011
11:19 pm
Marghanita HUghes says...

It was reading Richard’s “Last Child In the Woods” many years ago that inspired me to start up nature based art workshops to help reconnect children with nature. And I have just recently launched a new organization – The “Let’s Go Outside” Revolution with a mission to change the way children spend their time. Richard is a continued inspiration to so many and I can’t wait to read the Nature Principle. Thrilled to be filming Richard at the EPIC show in Vancouver on Saturday for the Lets Go Outside Revolution……………Richard is the Revolution.

May 15, 2011
5:45 pm
Sandra G. says...

My favorite outdoor activity, is being outside, observing and exploring. Whether it’s looking at what has the audacity to grow in a crack in the sidewalk, poking along a nature trail, or just stepping out my front door to feel the breeze, feel the sun’s heat on my skin, or watch a storm brewing, it centers me.

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