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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Anglais) Broché – 18 avril 2008


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135 internautes sur 137 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Totally missed the obvious 13 septembre 2011
Par Sam Thayer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I liked the author's ideas, and his arguments, and agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment. I think he's a great person, and I'm glad this book brought this very important issue into the public discussion. However, he totally missed the root cause of the problem he is addressing, and thereby missed the answer to the dilemma. Children don't spend enough time in Nature because adults don't. If we want our children to value Nature and experience it, we must. They are just modeling our behavior. As a Nature educator, I have grown to be disgusted by the very prevalent attitude of middle class parents: "Can somebody please take my kids outside so they can appreciate Nature while I go do important things?" This book is an elaboration on that misguided and futile idea. The author seems to be trying to see beyond it, but he can't quite do it.

Nature deficit disorder is MORE prevalent in adults than in children, and we are passing the disease on to them by rearing them in a way that reflects our chosen values. It is something like parents who smoke and drink while telling their kids not to do the same. Not only is it an ineffective strategy, it is also a disingenuous one.
89 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
No One Knows How to Play Kick the Can Anymore.... 1 avril 2009
Par Wayne A. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv is a timely book that needed to be written.

The author's point is that kids today are facing a nature deficit and that affects childhood obesity and even the potential for the next generation to appreciate the breadth of nature enough to want to preserve it. After all, if the local mall has an arboretum and that's all you know as nature, that's all you'll expect.

The culprit is not news to anyone, nor to any parent with enough income to plug their kids into all manner of electronic gadgets. Videogames, TV, computers and the like have proved a powerful pull on today's children. The cost is a lack of simple play outdoors, exploring creeks, fields, rocks and trees (the author doesn't count organized sports as nature exploration and rightly so in my book). It is sad, but not surprising to ask any kids under age 16 or so if the know how to play "Kick the Can." Hardly any do, and even fewer have played.

Louv offers a lot of data to back up the negative effects of this nature deficiency and some prescriptions to turn it around. While reestablishing phys ed in school will help, the answer is simple: parents, unplug your kids and kick them outside.

Having said this, I felt the author could have made his points and supported them in a long magazine article. There really wasn't enough for a full book and Louv gets repetitive and even inserts lists of ways to address the problem. I found myself scanning some sections later in the book because the points in those pages had been made before or the prescriptions he was offering were simplistic and I didn't feel worthy of the full play he gave to some.

That being said, important argument and point, I just wish I would have read this in about forty pages in a periodical.
31 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Saving Children from Our Best Intentions 15 août 2010
Par Fritz R. Ward - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
When I was growing up in Boise Idaho, I thought nothing of spending an afternoon away from my parents fishing ponds along the Boise River. As I graduated to fly fishing, I spent time on the river itself. Closer to home, the canal which ran below South Federal Way offered a miniature green belt where my friends and I built forts and rode bikes. Urban as Boise was, even then, this tiny greenbelt was still sufficiently wild that I would occasionally find a porcupine in our front yard. Our cats were fairly adept at finding quail (and bringing their still quivering bodies to us) and in general I found it easy to retreat to a relatively tame and yet exciting out of doors. Children today have no such privileges. Indeed, as Richard Louv points out, they are literally suffering from nature deficit disorder and its effects are far more pervasive than most of us would be willing to acknowledge. Increasing urbanization is part of the problem, but only a small part. A larger portion of the blame lies with the unintentional effects of our best intentions: legislation and regulations to protect and educate children.

Louv's hypothesis, in brief, is that we have entered a third frontier. Following the argument of America's first great historian, Frederick Jackson Turner, Louv suggests that America's frontier did indeed close in the 1890s, but it was replaced almost immediately by a second great frontier: life on farms, institutions such as scouting, and outdoor activities were, he argues, commonplace until the 1980s. But, just as Turner's thesis begins with the 1890 census, Louv finds the 1990 census an equally useful demarcation point, for beginning with this census, separate farm records are no longer kept, due to the decline in the rural population. A decline (and aging of) people involved in outdoor recreation also dates from about this time. And what of the new generation of children? Louv quotes from many of them, but the most revealing is a 5th grade boy who says he prefers to play indoors, because that is where the electrical outlets are....

Children simply do not spend the quality time they once did out of doors. And there are many consequences to this change. Citing several lines of research, Louv links his "nature-deficit disorder" to ADHD, depression, childhood obesity, gang problems, recovery from illness, and even underperformance in school. Taken individually, the research supporting any one of these claims seems fairly minimal: I suspect many researchers do not even recognize the problem. After all, it was years after Howard Gardner developed his multiple intelligence theory that it even occurred to him that there was a "naturalist" intelligence and many in academe are even more oblivious to considering research along these lines. However, taken as a whole Louv has presented a powerful case that the new world of gameboys, TV, cell phones, IPods and Internet has some unintended consequences that are not beneficial.

Instinctively, most parents know this. Many say they try to limit TV time and encourage children to play outside, but as Louv demonstrates, we as a society don't really mean what we say and our children are very aware of that. Outside activity is becoming increasingly restricted these days, and not just by development. "Environmental Activists," whom one might think would want promote outdoor activities are busy restricting it. Flying kites on the beach, after all, might scare snowy plovers (an endangered bird that nests on California beaches). Tree houses harm trees! So does climbing them. And God forbid you should build a fort, bicycle on a single track use trail, or any of a whole host of other activities. PETA activists, always on the cutting edge of extremism, have actively campaigned against hunting and fishing, especially among the young, and yet these are precisely the sort of activities that many first experience nature with. When I grew up, hunting was so common that all boys and girls had mandatory hunter safety in 7th grade PE. Today, we read stories about Audabon in our state approved readers blissfully unaware that the great naturalist often shot and ate the birds that he painted. As Louv points out, our children are so disconnected from nature that they do not even recognize that it is the source of the food they consume.

Environmental activists of course do not share all the blame. Our increasingly litigious society makes it difficult to promote recreation. School field trips, summer camps, and even playing in a "vacant" lot all involve substantial liability and the cost of liability insurance is going up. Louv notes that in California statuatory law does provide some protection for property owners who allow people access to their land for recreation. But the law is narrowly interpreted. A girl's parents sued when she fell off her bike while crossing a private bridge. Biking, the judge explained, was not recreation. {?} Damages from a single such suit can prevent further access.

Schools are also to blame, though in this instance the problem lies not so much with local school boards as it does with national legislation, specifically No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Louv recognizes that schools have dramatically cut field trips, recess, and even PE, but he does not explicitly tie this to NCLB. Teachers, however, will tell you that at this point, almost all attention is focused on math and language arts and schools face outright dissolution if they fail to meet the ever increasing demands of this legislation. I personally am fortunate enough to work at a school where the principal found enough value in the "Earth Club" to fund a field trip to our local mountains. But in an age of budget cuts, many other administrators will, understandably, cut such expenditures first. Under NCLB, "enrichment" of children does not enrich a school.

Ultimately then Louv suggests we face an increasely bleak future. As a society, we do not value what we cannot name and fewer and fewer children can identify even local animals and plants. But they are alienated, bored, and increasingly, heavily medicated so they can function in our urban society. To avoid the attendant ills which come with our brave new world of an electronic mall culture, we need to create areas of open space, but we also need to let go of these areas and our kids. Rather than stiffle youngsters with regulations and "protections" we need to give them the freedom many of us had as children. This means, ultimately, we must protect our children from our own best intentions.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
We've created America's first de-natured Generation 11 mars 2009
Par James Denny - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
With "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," author Richard Louv has a national bestseller to his credit.

This is a must-read for anybody who cares about the state of our planet and our way of relating to the physical world. But it is also a must-read for anybody who cares about rising social unrest, crime, alienation, alarming levels of obesity, higher rates of physical illness and a range of emotional disorders among children and adults alike.

Louv's key concept, "nature-deficit disorder," is a term that he has coined but uses with reluctance. His reluctance to use his own term comes from an understanding that in using such a term, it implies a pathology that exists independently of our having been the primary reason for its emergence. It is a sort of Pogo-like irony "we have met the enemy and he is us." If we look upon nature-deficit disorder as something that has always been there, then we fail to understand our role in creating it and may dismiss the challenge of doing what we can to try to remedy it.

As Louv defines it, nature-deficit disorder is an alienation from nature, the diminished use of our physical senses and a fundamental disconnection from the natural world. In an era of electronic plug-ins with electronic technology, people in general but young people in particular are increasingly separated from the natural forces and processes from which we and all species on our planet have evolved. There is an ignorance of the natural world and of our place in it.

The problem is particularly acute in terms of appreciating and understanding the natural environments in our own communities. Another irony: with electronic communications and media having made our world a smaller world, we have more general knowledge of the natural environments in faraway places--other countries and other parts of the world. Televsion, the Internet and other forms of mass media have made this possible. But we have less and less understanding of our local forest, our neighborhood wetland or of what remains of the natural environment in our own backyards or in our neighborhood parks.

He cites myriad examples of the consequences of nature-deficit disorder but the most salient are among children. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are two of these. Among children today, diagnosis and treatment for these conditions is at record levels. A principal symptom of both is the inability to focus on a task or to pay attention for a reasonable period of time.

Louv's book is not all doom and gloom. He offers many concrete examples for change at the individual, family, community and national level.

My main fault with "Last Child in the Woods" is that Louv repeats himself often, re-stating the the facts in slightly different ways, chapter after chapter. "Last Child" would have benefitted by sharper editing and by reducing the number of pages by about 50 pages.

Still, this is a must-read and I'm glad it has become a national bestseller.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Outstanding thesis is not well focused. 1 septembre 2009
Par Wesley L. Janssen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
"For the young, food is from Venus, farming is from Mars," says Louv. But the not-so-young, that is, the parents of our present young, are often just as alienated from reality. Food comes from the refrigerator-- well, okay, it really comes from the grocery or convenience store-- but then it ultimately comes from truckers and the Oscar Meyer factory, or General Mills maybe. No? It comes from Papa John's Pizza, delivered by driver to our doors, ready to eat. What more is worth knowing? Western culture, certainly US culture, accelerates in this noetic disconnection from its natural sustenance. However, this is but a sub-thesis for Louv, one quickly passed.

Where the topic is a personal knowledge of nature, the word `nature' is itself problematic. Within current theory, all material we can experience-- whether a polyethylene terephthalate water bottle or an oak tree-- is reducible to quarks and gluons, and is thus "natural." The reader must bare in mind what the author means by `nature': something like, those aspects of the geophysical and biological world somehow minimally altered by man (or something like that). Not that I have a more economical definition for Louv's purposes, but often his usage of `nature' is ambiguous. Avoiding this seems difficult.

Louv's book contains many important discussions, but it's repetitive and generally seems unfocused. He repeatedly introduces ideas (generally by citing/quoting various individuals) as if having more validity than they do, often then admitting that he might not assent to much of the citation he has just introduced. This dilutes and blurs the discourse; material is included that should not have been.

One of Louv's theses instructs that efforts to restrict public access to stressed and sensitive ecosystems are counterproductive. He believes that it is more important that these exact lands or waters be easily accessible, putatively so that those using the areas will become knowers and appreciators of these places and defenders of them. It is not difficult to see his point, but it strikes me as using a hammer to clean one's spectacles.

Over and against its flaws, the book makes many excellent points and I frequently identified closely with the author's observations. It's a thesis of critical consequence, and while I cautiously recommend the book, it's less than it might have been.
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