Posts Tagged ‘Richard Louv’

What Gives You Hope?


Grafton Pond, NH

“The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. 
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I started Mountain Spirit Institute in 1998 when we led our first trip to Peru, with the basic mission “to facilitate a deeper connection to the natural environment, each other and ourselves.”  Since then it has become ever more apparent how we need “nature time” more than ever. It’s good to see people out on the trail, and in kayaks these days, but National Park use is down in the U.S, and technology competes for the breath of fresh air. We just offered a presentation last night in a small town in New Hampshire called “Get Outside While You Still Can.” The piece below echoes a lot of what we covered in our presentation, and why we started MSI.

 By Eric Utne,
Founder, The Utne Reader

As I’ve said in this column before, I’m afraid it may be too late to avoid the devastating effects of global climate change. (more…)

“Get Outta Here”



•    Get Out into nature that is
•    How do you view nature?
•    Find it hard to get nature time?
•    Technology Got ya?

How do you spend your time?……

Doing This?

Or Doing This?

Come and explore, with Mountain Spirit board members
Bob Stremba and Randy Richards,

Nature Deficit Disorder
Why we need to get outside while we still can!

Cost: Free

Lake Sunapee Bank Community Room
116 Newport Road
New London, NH, USA
For more information call 603-763-2668 or

THE HUNGER GAMES: Dystopian fiction



Predictive Programming

THE HUNGER GAMES: Dystopian fiction & Predictive Programming
The following piece is by Richard Louv, Author of Last Child in the Woods. I’m glad he’s weighed in on the Hunger Games. One might also google Predictive Programming to learn more about why such movies are made. (ed.)
Stuck Inside Apocalypse with Dystopic Blues Again
By Richard Louv

“The Hunger Games,” the book, is a page-turner and the movie is gripping. Some of my colleagues, working hard to reconnect young people to nature, believe the popularity of the book and movie will, like the film “Avatar,” stimulate a deeper interest in the natural world. I hope they’re right, but after leaving the movie theater on Friday (having already read the book), I was, well, ambivalent.

In this story, there are two forests. The first forest is as natural as a forest can be with an electrified fence to keep the largest carnivores out of District 12, Katniss Everdeen’s starving Appalachian homeland.

At the beginning of the book, she describes sitting in a nook in the rocks with her hunting partner, Gale, looking out at a forest that sustains them: “From this place we are invisible but have a clear view of the valley, which is teeming with summer life, greens to gather, roots to dig, fish iridescent in the sunlight.” This forest keeps her family alive. (more…)

The Nature Principle


Louv's second book

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
—Richard Louv

The immediacy of Richard Louv’s message in Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder galvanized an international movement to reconnect children with nature. We’ve touched base about his first book here on MSI’s blog.

Now, in The Nature Principle, Louv reaches even further with a powerful call to action for the rest of us.

Our society, says Louv, has developed such an outsized faith in technology that we have yet to fully realize or even adequately study how human capacities are enhanced through the power of nature. Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv shows us how tapping into the restorative powers of the natural world can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. As he says in his introduction, The Nature Principle is “about the power of living in nature—not with it, but in it. We are entering the most creative period in history. The twenty-first century will be the century of human restoration in the natural world.”

Richard Louv makes a convincing case that through a nature-balanced existence—driven by sound economic, social, and environmental solutions—the human race can and will thrive. This timely, inspiring, and important work will give readers renewed hope while challenging them to rethink the way we live.

Editor’s note: I saw Mr. Louv speak in Park City about three years ago. He was a down-to-earth, (one would hope with a subject such as he covers) and passionate speaker. If you get a chance, go hear him speak, you can see his schedule on his website’s Appearances Page and  if you can hear him speak, do so.  Better yet, read his three books.

We’re honored to see that Mr. Louv has started to follow Mountain Spirit Institute‘s Twitter account. We’ve been at it since 1998, and started this blog in 2008 with 64,000 views since. We feel a kindred spirit with Louv, with our mission “to facilitate one’s connection to the natural environment, to each other and a deeper connection to one’s self”.  Mr. Louv has had great success in spreading the word about getting kids of all ages outside, and we’re effectively joining him in that cause.

Grand Canyon Tourists & Nature


5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year
This staggering figure is a cross section of a world population which doesn’t get out into nature as much as in generations past. (See Richard Louv’s book  Last Child in the Woods which addresses nature deficit disorder)  Yet, our observations of the people seen on the North Rim this day, people are enthralled with not only the Canyon, but the flora and fauna on the canyon rim. We saw people taking the time to read about the plants and animals, and in most cases, sit in nature, if even for a while.  Man, and Woman’s internal compass designed is to gravitate back to nature, despite the lure of technology. Mountain Spirit’s goal is to facilitate this process.

Children in the Mountains


Mountain Family Doesn’t Stop Exploring When Kids Enter the Picture

Junji Itagaki, Mt. Washington, NH, USA

Junji Itagaki and I were backcountry skiing from Mount Washington’s summit last week, and descended down Ammonoosuc Ravine when we passed by family encamped in the base of the ravine. They were still setting up camp in a safe area, off to the side of the avalanche zone,  when I asked them for a short interview.
The families in many cultures don’t stop going outside, hiking or backcountry skiing in the mountains when their children are born. They intentionally introduce their children to camping, hiking and skiing. Here’s a great example of that in New England….

Director’s Rec. Department Gets Nod


Lebanon NH, A top Ten City to Raise an Outdoor Kid,according to The Outdoor Foundation and Backpacker Magazine.

 Magazine says Director Heath's Rec. Dept. gets the job done

Magazine says Director Heath's Rec. Dept. gets the job done

MSI Director Cindy Heath who has also headed up the Lebanon City Recreation Department in New Hampshire for 26 years, has received notice that her city has received the tenth slot in the USA of the nation’s top 25 place to beat nature deficit disorder. Heath’s recreation department has focused on providing outdoor adventure opportunities for its youth for years and receiving recognition at the national level continues to inspire the department.   Whether it’s engaged in actively leading residents into the outdoor adventure playground that surrounds the town, providing maps to conservation lands or offering advice to families getting started on their own, Heath, wants to motivate residents to use and enjoy what the region has to offer.

MSI Director Cindy Heath

MSI Director Cindy Heath

Cindy Heath also serves on the board of directors at Mountain Spirit Institute. When asked about the #10 position in the poll, Heath said, ” We’re excited about what we’ve accomplished in the community. We have a solid program of diverse activities from rock climbing and hiking to snowshoeing.” She added, “Our goal is just getting people outside, and the poll confirmed that we’re on the right track”.

Editor’s Note: Pop Quiz –  Name the peak and in what mountain range it is located, which is featured on the cover of Backpacker Magazine above. The first one to guess correctly receives a copy of the Peruvian Folklore band Chimu Inka CD “Fusion Etnika” sent by mail to their address.

Living Close to the Land, A Lost Art?

Yoga at the Tipi, North Cascades, Leavenworth, WA

Yoga at the Tipi, North Cascades, Leavenworth, WA

By Randy Richards, Founder
Executive Director
Mountain Spirit Institute
Images: R Richards

Alternative structures are getting more attention these days, especially with the spector of dwindling non-renewable petroleum products for building and heating materials. Simple living is more than an idealist notion. Cody Michaels, a longtime  friend and solo pianist extradonaire, just swung by my town for a performance at our local CoffeeHouse. His performance is a reminder that we actually need to live and  breath outdoors more. He and I went for a walk to the top of a hill overlooking Lake Sunapee just before his gig. We wer just in time to catch the sunset too. It seemed bitterly cold,  (read, There is no bad weather, just bad clothes), but it was worth it. Cody shared his appreciation of the wind whipping through the bare branches, and the artist’s light that cuts through the landscape at an obtuse angle this time of year.
Living outside has become a lost art for the majority of Americans. In my tipi days, I always enjoyed the circular living structure. Occasionally, when a visitor might bring a dog, often times, the a dog would go walk nerveously round and round along the inner walls of the tipi looking for a corner in which to sit. To no avail. Even our domestic pets are used to the square structures in which we all live. 

Home base, warm yurt, Sunapee, NH

Home base, warm yurt, Sunapee, NH

My tipi has been put up every year though,  for the Sunapee SunFest, but I don’t live in it any more. My yurt, now that is a cool structure. It’s toasty warm, and clean living off the grid with solar panels, gravity feed shower, composting toilet and a hand dug well. I’ll write more on yurt living in another post.  I had it up for 5 years in Sunapee, NH on Ryder Corner Road. The different reactions I received from different neighors was worth noting. The old time locals, who grew up on local farms thought it was the best thing, a great addition to the neighborhood.  Ohers were less clear about their feelings of the thing.

Yurt interior w/loft

Yurt interior w/loft

Reactions varied from polite disdain, a blank stare, or possibly a somewhat condescending chuckle. It’s only worth mentioning because as illustrated in the movie “Escape from Suburbia” we may be headed for voluntary simplicity whether we want to or not.  I’m not a Chicken Little thinker, however, watching the aformentioned movie made me sit up and take more notice. It might be worth your time.

A confession is due here. I’m not living as close to the land as I’d like. I’m not growing my own food, (although I do eat from friend’s gardens once in a while.) And I’m not in my yurt. However I forsee my partner and I taking action on this. I’m glad I have the background I do, having lived in my tipi and yurt. As Richard Louv says in his lecture and book “Last Child in the Woods”, my past experiences give me a touchstone, a reference point that helps me know my place in the natural world. My life is still more green than most, but I’ve still got goals to reach. I suggest you do the same. 

Living closely to the earth not only makes sense, it can be much more fun than being in the rut of spending all those non-renewables.