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Nature AND Nurture Deficit Disorder – two ills we need to address

Over the past year, CreateCATT has become increasingly involved in the field of Nature Deficit Disorder – collating the science of connecting with nature to improve our wellbeing: lavender improves sleep, looking at a tree from a hospital window speeds up recovery, plants in classrooms support learning by circulating more oxygen at the end of the day, and walking in the woods lowers heartrate and reduces stress.


But as we look at the challenges of modern life, two things strike us a lacking: as well as connection to nature, we miss a sense of care for ourselves and others – or Nurture Deficit Disorder.


Loving ourselves and others in a way of compassion, forgiveness and understanding is imperative in a technologically connected world which is paradoxically so divided by technology, because where there is hate, misunderstanding and a lack of care, society falls apart. We see this in the underinvestment in the care economy – health services, education and social care/welfare; and in wars around the globe with mass migration of some of the most vulnerable. We see it in a mental health pandemic that particularly affects the young; and in the divisive rise of popularism across the world – find your tribe and ‘other’ everyone else.


There is a simple way of looking at what happens to an individual when they don’t feel loved – they tend to be inhospitable to themselves and others, they rage, they lash out, they develop petty envies that grow into grievances. But when people feel loved and love, they are able to be hospitable to themselves and to others, they can forgive, they are happier with their lot and they work for a better world.


We all oscillate along this continuum at times, but to work towards the latter is preferable for world peace, societal stability and working on the climate crisis.


During Covid, CreateCATT wrote a white paper on Nurture Capital – attached below – where we spelled out what a world build around care, compassion and consideration might look like. There are still so many wonderful kind, generous people around the world and being in the sector of education and health we are lucky to meet them all the time. But they are struggling. The demands on their compassion are stretched – they are undervalued and underpaid, everywhere across the globe.


We would like to present a provocation that there is an answer to this challenge: a reconfiguring of all of our political, economic and state structures around Nature Capital and Nurture Capital.


We are trying this in a small, grass-roots way with our Back to Nurture programme of nature retreats for frontline workers, to support their capacity to care and offer the fundamental services they do. We give them a chance to reconnect with nature and nurture themselves so they can continue to give to others. These retreats are based in the West of England.


Yes, there are global problems. Yet, there are always answers, too, and at CreateCATT we believe that regeneration is afoot. If we embrace the principles of Nature and Nurture Capital, we can build the world we dream of.


To find out more about the Back to Nurture programme, please contact


CreateCATT Nurture Capital. White Paper 2.1
Download PDF • 2.72MB




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