I have a list of books to read before I begin my volunteer teaching position. My curriculum includes everything from self-esteem to ethics, considering that I will be teaching 8th grade. One of the books that came in for my studies today is a book called Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv (ironically published by Algonquin Books). I haven’t begun it yet, but I’ve been interested in reading in ever more than my other Rethinking Globalization and What Do You Stand For?, etc., titles. I think I’m going to simultaneously enjoy the book while gawking at its blatant stupidity. Just in reading the back cover, I get that the gist is: Louv has done a “cutting-edge” study to show how important the exposure to nature is to a child’s development.
Bahahahahahahaha….oh wait, this is a real American problem. Kids seriously aren’t exposed to nature. Me, I can’t imagine life without knowing nature…but there are kids who grew up in these concrete jungles who perhaps know shooting hoops after school outside, but then retreat to Huggies and fried chicken dinners from the fast food joint down the street, never even sharing a meal with their families. I feel like this book is going to make a lot of valid, scientific points on why nature is important to the growth of a human, but the fact that anything else is even remotely considered upsets me. It truly demonstrates how detached modern society is from nature, and makes me crave even more that I lived in a time 300 years prior so I could just walk off into the woods and neglect all these artificial expectations of my life.
“Last Child in the Woods, which describes a generation so plugged into electronic diversion s that it has lost its connection to the natural world, is helping drive a movement quickly flourishing across the nation.” – The Nation’s Health
I’m sorry, but no. There is no “movement”. Maybe I would call it an “awakening”. Like, so many things have become wrong to us that we even feel unhealthy, we are told we are unhealthy, and suddenly we have “discovered” this new lifestyle! Nature! Wowwww!!! Like when Columbus “discovered” America! Bahahaha don’t even get me started…
Suddenly, nature is a trend and no longer an ENORMOUS part of our existence. We are so removed from the origin of our food and the realization that we are animals who live in family units that we can be shocked by such a layman study. I feel like America is the biggest culprit for this blind sort of following and I associate it most closely with the “bread bowl” concept. The Sioux author Vine Deloria, Jr. likes to advocate frequently in his writing that the “bread bowl” part of America is often a negativity, and that some form of separatism is actually healthy in maintaining cultural identity. I think this is kind of true because I see America as that “melting point” where everyone kind of forgot what was important to their cultures enough to meld together, in the meantime losing the ability to thrive on their natural homelands. Traditions are lost and the new, bland, boring “American lifestyle” forms. The American “culture” soon, instead, becomes wealth and dog-eats-dog practice because everything is corporation and globalization over nationalism and humble life. In fact, the “humble lifestyle” becomes so obsolete that it is romanticized in country songs. That’s pathetic, though, isn’t it?
And with people forgetting what humans are, they are also forgetting what their food is. Food is suddenly a pleasure rather than a sustenance. It’s whatever it takes to get what you crave cheaply, quickly, and at no inconvenience to you. Well, food used to be the motivation for society to work. Now, I’m not so sure. We call it “luxury”, but I think the real luxury is in understanding reality and respecting nature, not manipulating it for convenience’s sake. Sure, pesticides and all those other chemicals grow bigger produce faster and easier, but at what expense? Do we even know how it’s affecting us? Do seriously so many people not consider this? It wasn’t that long ago that Silent Spring and the DDT scare happened…what makes today any different?
I’m still not 100% the exact point at which this country went wrong, but sometimes I really hate that it doesn’t give me a choice. My friends and I like to joke a lot about “I’m sorry because…” in group messages where we list ridiculous things we are “sorry” about. I have a few favorites, like “I’m sorry because ankle socks fall down when I wear boots”, or “I’m sorry because traffic”, or “I’m sorry because I put deodorant on every day yet I don’t get where it goes because I have to put it on again the next day”… Well, one of my classics is “I’m sorry because I need money to legally live”. But isn’t it true? Hundreds of years ago, groups of people were living on this land and they didn’t have that kind of system. They had one that looked after one another. It was caring, sharing, and respecting both each other and the land they relied on. Whatever happened to that? At what point did we forget that “tinkering” outside in a garden is part of survival and not just some hobby? That we are animals? Why do we have to publish books that remind us our children should go outside every once in awhile instead of playing Xbox? It seriously disturbs me… Seriously.