Robert Michael Pyle worries about the extinction of experience, a term he coined to refer to the loss of intimate experience with the natural world. Richard Louv describes our children’s lack of unstructured outdoor play and time to just “be” in nature as nature deficit disorder. And Peter Kahn raises concern about the shifting baseline of what we consider a healthy environment and our relationship to it as environmental generational amnesia.
What if the nature our children encounter becomes more virtual than real?
What if my early experience of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird had been via a web cam? Would my connection to the species felt less personal? Would I still be birding today? Would I have brought the experience of birding to my daughter’s childhood? Would a found hummingbird nest sit on her bedroom desk as a treasured relic of her past?
- Patricia Hasbach, “Nature on Demand? A Leading Ecopsychologist Compares Real Nature With Tech Nature,” The New Nature Movement/C&NN (August 15, 2012)