Blogs > Sara Gutterman > January 2013 > Outrageously Optimistic

Outrageously Optimistic

Earlier this week, Green Builder Media president Ron Jones interviewed celebrated author Richard Louv on our Impact Series: Game Changers in Sustainability program about the concept of Nature Deficit Disorder. In the interview, Louv asserted that the more high tech our lives become, the more we need a connection with nature to feel alive.

“When we introduce nature into our built environment,” Louv said, “we’re calmer, nicer and more productive.” Louv challenged building professionals to expand our thinking beyond the fundamentals of sustainability, such as energy efficiency and indoor air quality, and adopt a biophiliac approach, which recognizes the instinctive bond between humans and other living systems.

Louv is worried about the dystopic image of the future that is portrayed in so many of today’s pop culture movies and books, in which nature is stripped of biodiversity and humans are not just distanced from nature, but also devoid of hope. He cautions us to be careful of what we imagine. “Don’t envision a future that you fear. Martin Luther King’s speech wasn’t called ‘I have a nightmare.’ We won’t get to sustainability unless we aim a lot higher. We have to be outrageously optimistic in order to achieve a regenerative future.”

Louv’s interview reminded me that, despite the daunting environmental challenges that we’re currently facing, we each hold the power to shape a sustainable future. We are our planet’s gardeners.

But I can’t help but wonder: will we have the courage to be outrageously optimistic? Are we wise enough to construct environments that will invigorate people, or will we default to slapping up stucco wastelands that will inevitably degrade into tomorrow’s slums? Will we dissolve into the mind-numbing din of technology, or will we be able to create a buffer that helps us reconnect with the unbridled joy and purity of the natural world?

How can incorporate nature into buildings to create blooming environments? Write to me at or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:38:42 AM by Mary Kestner | with 1 comments

Mark Schisler
Great article. Richard is very inspirational and I recommend his books very much. As he likes to say, most children today suffer from "Nature Deficit Disorder". So true.
2/1/2013 8:34:30 AM

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