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Nature deficit disorder (access required)

By Sam Boykin In the 2008 film WALL-E, a garbage-collecting robot follows his true love to a massive spaceship, where all the people of Earth now reside after turning their home planet into a giant garbage dump. These people from the not-so-distant future are all obese, riding around the space resort on hovering recumbent chairs that provide a constant feed of TV and video chatting. They even drink all their meals through a straw out of laziness. It was a funny and clever twist, and I was reminded of it recently while writing a story about how a growing number of college graduates lack professional etiquette. Michelle Fish, founder and CEO of Integra Staffing & Search, ventured that perhaps young people lack basic social graces because they’re simply not used to interacting with other human beings. Instead, much of their communication is done via cell phones or the Internet, often while they’re sequestered in their rooms or sprawled out on the couch. Perhaps WALL-E wasn’t that far off in its depiction of what people will become. In fact, maybe the movie was being a little generous.

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