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Podcast: Connecting kids and ourselves to nature

  • On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we discuss the latest research showing how important it is to connect kids to nature and educate them about the environment.
  • We’re joined by author and journalist Richard Louv, who created the ‘nature deficit disorder’ concept in 2005 to facilitate discussion of the impacts our disconnectedness from nature has on human health and wellbeing. His latest book is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives — and Save Theirs.
  • We’re also joined by Megan Strauss, an editor with Mongabay Kids, who tells us about how the site delivers the news and inspiration from nature’s frontline for young readers and discusses the importance of environmental education.

Today we’re discussing environmental education and the importance of spending time in nature to both human health and environmental conservation.

Listen here:

2020 was a year when human society reconnected with nature.

Spending time outdoors has been soothing for many during the pandemic — whether it’s found outside our homes, in parks, or via nature documentaries — and in some ways it was a meaningful reset.

Both human health and conservation benefit when we learn about, connect with, and spend time in nature, so today we’re discussing nature connection for kids and adults: what we know about its beneficial effects, how a movement to connect with nature has been growing globally, and what this means for conservation.

Our first guest is journalist and author Richard Louv, who coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ and wrote the 2005 book that introduced the concept, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, in order to facilitate discussion of the human cost of alienation from the natural world. Louv discusses the international movement kicked off by the publication of Last Child in the Woods and what the latest research says about the connection between nature deficit disorder and a variety of physical and mental ailments. He also tells us about his newest book, Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives — and Save Theirs.

We’re also joined today by Megan Strauss, an editor with Mongabay Kids, Mongabay’s own site dedicated to providing kids, families, and educators with content that helps raise awareness of environmental issues and fosters an appreciation of plants, wildlife, and wild places. Strauss tells us about the goals of Mongabay Kids, gives us a preview of some upcoming content, and discusses the importance of environmental education for children.

If you enjoy the Mongabay Newscast, we ask that you please consider becoming a monthly sponsor via our Patreon page, at Just a dollar per month will really help us offset the production costs and hosting fees, so if you’re a fan of our audio reports from nature’s frontline, please support the Mongabay Newscast at

You can subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever you get your podcasts from. You can also listen to all episodes here on the Mongabay website. Or you can download our new app for Apple and Android devices to gain fingertip access to new shows and all of our previous episodes.

Environmental education in action. Photo by George Gentry/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
Boy with butterfly. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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