Theresa McCuaig's Urban Permaculture News
When you watch the 2:24 minute video, below, is this your first thought? “OMG! That’s dangerous. Somebody could lose an eye.”
If you’re struck with horror, perhaps you’ve developed Nature Deficit Disorder, and infected your kids, too.
Allegedly, up to 20% of school-aged children have an attention or mood disorder. The uptick in diagnosing children as disordered has paralleled their increased use of electronic media. North American children view electronic media up to 7.5 hours daily, which basically makes it their full-time jobs, and consequently, their activity levels have decreased by 13%.
Richard Louv coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” for wired children who develop inattention, obesity, and depression when they are kept indoors for prolonged periods. He started the Leave No Child Inside movement to counter the effects of lack of outdoor play. Louv explains how these popular medical conditions only developed over the last 10 years, following technological advances, here: http://richardlouv.com/books/nature-principle/trailer/
Has your child been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, obesity, or rickets? Remember that the drugs prescribed for these conditions can have side-effects, such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, digestive disturbances, and psychosis. Before you agree to a stand-alone course of pharmaceutical treatments, please consider a little Horticultural Therapy.
Centre-East Hamilton has few parks. Those that do exist are mostly grass lawns and concrete. Users feel lucky to encounter a sad swing and a junked jungle gym. We encounter more graffiti and used syringes than plants in Hamilton’s delta parks. There is a free alternative to relieve your child, even in bad weather: The City of Hamilton’s Tropical House at Gage Avenue and Lawrence Road, in the south end of Gage Park. It has fish, birds, turtles, a waterfall, and spectacular plants spread over 6,000 square feet. Its flagstone paths are wheelchair accessible. Although visitors get all this for that magical price of F-R-E-E, it is often empty. We are often surprised to find ourselves the only people in the Tropical House. The Tropical House is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Unfortunately, it will be closed from Christmas to New Year’s Day, when the kids are on school break. Why?
When the Tropical House is closed, the Royal Botanical Gardens is only a short bus ride away, and it does offer low-cost programs for families and kids at http://www.rbg.ca/publicprograms. The RGB will only be closed on Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years Day. There are plenty of events offered during this year’s school break. You can download a visitor’s guide here: http://www.rbg.ca/files/pdf/visit/RBGvisitorguide.pdf
Do not underestimate the importance of showing your child a well-designed landscape, as a counterpoint to Centre-East Hamilton’s dreary streets. Evelyn Hadden contends humans react well only to diverse landscapes, at
Finally, please take an interest in the redevelopment of your ward in preparation for the 2015 Pan-Am Games. Kindly look over the City of Hamilton’s plan for Gage Park, Nature’s last bastion in Centre-East Hamilton: http://alturl.com/2c656