Time for some fresh air!

THE ISSUE: Relative rates of nature participation -- as measured by visits to national parks in the United States, Japan, and Spain -- are declining by between 1 to 1.3 per cent per year, and up to 25 per cent in total since 1981. This correlates strongly with the rise of predominantly urban, sedentary lifestyles.

THE TAKE AWAY: Apart from the obvious implications for the general wellness of people (and, in particular, children) who are leading less active lifestyles, the decline of nature participation rates raises issues of how future generations will value environmental conservation efforts.

The recent study, funded by the Nature Conservancy and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Environmental Leadership Program, Delaware Valley.

As author Richard Louv has written in his ground-breaking book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, "At the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature."

Communing With Nature Less And Less

ScienceDaily (2008-02-05) -- From backyard gardening to mountain climbing, outdoor activities are on the wane as people around the world spend more leisure time online or in front of the tube, according to findings. "The replacement of vigorous outdoor activities by sedentary, indoor videophilia has far-reaching consequences for physical and mental health, especially in children," one of the researchers said. "Videophilia has been shown to be a cause of obesity, lack of socialization, attention disorders and poor academic performance." ... > read full article