“In the end, the fate of biodiversity and ecosystems depends on political choices and individual choices…If people never experience nature and have negligible understanding of the services that nature provides, it is unlikely people will choose a sustainable future.”
– Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy
We’ve long believed that taking time to connect with nature is important – not only for its positive effects on human health and well-being, but also because of how it informs our capacity for deeper respect for the planet and a strengthened commitment to act – a shift that could be the key to real and lasting change.
According to a Pew Internet Project Report, 93% of teens and 77% of adults are online. Children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours each day plugged into computers, TV, video games, music, or cell phones, reported a Kaiser Family Foundation Study. As we spend more and more time in the electronic world, many of us are spending less and less time in nature.
With this in mind, we offer some ways to unplug from the digital world and plug into the natural world. We encourage you to choose one of the ways to connect with nature, and act on it in the coming week!
4 simple ways to connect with nature this week:
1. Engage your senses. Make a practice of using your senses intentionally. Take time to observe what is around you. Notice the smells and textures of your place.
2. Go for a daily walk. Get outside daily, even if for a short break at work. And even if you live in the city, try to broaden your definition of nature to include more than traditionally understood ‘natural spaces.’
3. Pick an action from the new-for-2016 Nature Challenge at EcoChallenge.org. Registration opens in a few weeks for our annual October EcoChallenge, but you can test-drive a Nature Challenge from the list before now and then join us in October to focus on connecting with nature and committing to an action for two weeks.
4. Eat a meal outside. Try eating outdoors. The extra time outdoors boosts concentration and improves the mood – while also giving you the opportunity to enjoy your surroundings. And while you’re at it, take a moment to enjoy the sunrise or sunset. As author Jo Walton says, “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them!”
We are wishing you the space to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life!
* Want a deeper dive? Check out one of NWEI’s cornerstone discussion course books, Reconnecting With Earth, and explore how our cultural beliefs and personal values affect the way we view and treat our planet.