‘Nature Deficit Disorder’

  • FG Bureau
  • India
  • Jan 27, 2012



 { Surekha Waldia }

Did you know our children could be heading towards ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’?

“This is not a medical condition — it describes our lack of relationship with the environment. It hurts our children, our families, our communities, and our environment. This alienation damages children – and shapes adults, families, and communities. It’s basically a lack of routine contact with nature, that may result in stunted academic and developmental growth. This unwanted side-effect of the electronic age is called Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD).” The term has been coined by Richard Louv in his book – Last Child in the Woods, in order to explain how our societal disconnect with nature is effecting today’s children.

Some of the basic symptoms of NDD include attention problems, obesity, anxiety, and depression.


The next logical question is, how can we prevent Nature Deficit Disorder in our kids? The only solution left is to bring the greens back in our personal space; learn to consciously give more time towards plants – and introduce our children to nature. 

Now where should we begin? Just getting a few plants in our balconies or back yards will not solve the problem. 

We need to understand the factors that would drive creativity in children, and make them more responsive. As parents, we need to break ourselves out of the culture of driving from one structured activity to another. We have to bring out the children in us, to connect with our own children – to help them understand the hidden beauties of nature. It’s time to stop and literally smell the roses, and look around for those wild berries that we would collect in the wilderness, in our childhood.  


So let’s get going. Take your children to the park, and make them look for—and help them identify—these wonderful edible flowers and weeds that are commonly found in our environment.
This is just the beginning, of fostering creativity, and calming children – struggling with information overload.

1. Clover  


2. Dandelion 

3. Pansies 


4. Nasturtiums

5. Calendula

Clover –we have eaten this as kids. The whole flower is edible, and a high source of protein - though better digested when boiled lightly for 5 - 10 minutes.

Dandelion is a very nutritious and highly useful plant; the leaves, roots, flowers and buds are all edible. The leaves can be used in salads, or brewed into a tea; and the flowers and petals used for garnish, and in salads. Pick fresh and young, for sweet taste.

Pansies The flowers and petals look pretty when sprinkled on salads - or even as decoration on fairy cakes!

Nasturtiums are most popular edible flowers, both for humans and animals. The leaves and petals have a distinct peppery taste, and are a great asset to any salad. 

Calendula has been used for centuries, to colour soups and broths; and was believed to ‘gladden the heart’. The petals are added to soups and stews—or even rice—for a lovely subtle flavour, and a delightful colour. 


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