Economic Growth, Technological Change, and Climate Change
Hurricanes and Common Sense

Ecotherapy and the Nature Deficit Disorder

By Jonathan B. Wight

If you believe in evolution, it makes sense that humans would acquire and feel a deep symbiosis with nature.  After all, our ancestors somewhat similar to us have roamed for perhaps 2.5 million years. 

For 99.9999% of that time there was little light except what came from the sun. Our senses were honed to mesh with nature, and to pick up disruptions to it and changes in it.  In short, we became one with the natural environment.

Today we are separated from nature by machines that extend our eyes and hands with power.  We are disconnected by economic theory that regards nature as useful only as an aid to output productivity.  It takes effort to regain a feeling of symbiotic balance. 

I’ve admired Zen Buddhist gardens, with their conscious attention to meditation in harmony with the rhythms of rocks and other natural elements.  

I just ran across an organization, The Earthbody Institute, that seeks to provide opportunities for people to reconnect with nature.  According to the website, “Ecotherapy explores how our relationship with nature is an essential and therapeutic part of our humanity.” Without it, some may experience a “nature deficit disorder”!

The statement seems obvious.  Yet some of us may need a medical diagnosis before we can justify going out to enjoy nature.  Yes, you have permission!


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