Kids and Nature – with Claire Freeman

More people in the world now live in urban than in rural areas. In fact according to the 2001 NZ Census, 86% of people live in urban areas. From a sustainable living perspective, connecting with nature in my opinion is essential if we are to live more sustainably in the long term as a species. I think we need to see ourselves as part of nature rather than separate from it, so that we can take the necessary steps to live within the confines of our finite resources, understand and work with nature’s ecological processes, and share rather than compete with the rest of biodiversity.

The phenomenon of failing to connect with nature may not just be a problem for our earth but for us too. The term Nature Deficit Disorder was created by Dr Richard Louv to describe what he sees a as problem – that we and our children might be failing to connect with nature enough on a regular basis and this may lead to psychological and behavioural problems.

So are our urban children failing to connect with nature? Or is there actually more nature to be found in urban rather than rural areas? This show addresses the question of whether or not our children here in Dunedin are connecting with nature, and if not, how we can assist this process, so that they grow up caring about nature and our living planet.

For this show I chatted with Prof Claire Freeman from the Geography Dept in the University of Otago. Claire is co-author of a number of books research papers on the topic of urban children and how they relate to nature.

For more information –

  • Claire’s research – Higgins, H. and Freeman, C. (Editors) Childhood: Growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand, Otago University Press 2011. Also – Freeman, C. and Tranter, P. Children’s Urban Environments: Changing worlds, Earthscan. 
  • Nature Deficit Disorder – (Richard Louv). Also Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, 2013
  • Tramping activities with children – go to (on DOC website)
  • Getting kids involved with nature conservation – go to Kiwi Conservation Club,

To listen to this programme about Kids and Nature please click on

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  11th June 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and sponsored by the Dunedin City Council. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard PhD, Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.


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