Updated: Jan 27, 2021
Nature is everything in and around us. It’s the atoms of oxygen and carbon dioxide moving in and out of us. It’s the photons of light bouncing off everything around us forming a picture that we can understand. It’s the table I currently have my laptop on. It’s the vibrations of sound coming out of the TV in my living room. And of course, it’s the drizzling rain currently falling upon the roof, the trees growing in my yard, and the wind making them dance.
Nature is literally everything in our existence. Yet, when most of us think of nature we imagine a distant picturesque landscape that is seldom experienced. Our advances in engineering and technology have led to modern day urbanization. Living in urban societies has resulted in a separation with nature, a loss of connection with the world we evolved in.
Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park by Fendi Despres
We are nature! We are made up of the same ingredients as the birds, insects, mammals and plants that are all around us. We even share ingredients with things that are non-living, like rocks and viruses. We all came from the stars. As Carl Sagan said, we are star dust. The Calcium in our bones, the Iron in our blood, and the Carbon in every one of our cells came from the stars. Somehow, we have managed to remove ourselves from our true identities. We’ve lost our basic connection with nature and therefore have lost the benefits of that connection.
Human beings have achieved engineering marvels, we have found ways to bring resources to us and not have to get them individually, we’ve developed massive social structures and globalized communication, we’ve expanded our creativity in an exponential way and continue to do so, we’ve also intimately discovered some of the fundamental processes that create life on this planet. During our journey to power and knowledge we inadvertently distanced ourselves from our true nature. We have developed the notion that we are superior to all things on earth and therefore are entitled to use everything in a selfish way for personal gain. By doing so we have developed a lack of empathy for the things that are not us.
Now, I feel like we are starting to gain more awareness, a shift in realization away from the notion that we are separate or superior to the elements or wildlife of this planet. We are beginning to understand just how much we affect everything around us which ultimately, effects ourselves. As a species, we are starting to go through a paradigm shift. We are becoming more aware of our actions and their consequences, we are realizing that doing things in an unsustainable manner with nature results in serious imbalances that will negatively effect future generations and we are starting to hold ourselves accountable for those actions. There is a plethora of resources available to us today that allows us to learn and inquire about different aspects of nature, fulfilling a desire to understand and gain more knowledge. The more we know, the more we care about everything around us.
There are several ways we can be a part of this paradigm shift and begin connecting with nature starting in our own yard or neighborhood. Some of these include sensory activities, being mindful and establishing curiosity and wonderment of the things we see daily. To learn about these techniques and more, click here.
Establishing a connection with nature not only motivates us to live sustainably, it comes with a slew of health benefits. There are several scientific studies, ancient practices and personal experiences that prove time and time again that connecting with nature increases physical and mental health, spirituality and overall well-being.
Collectively, we must continue to raise our awareness and understanding of the natural world. In doing so we establish a relationship with the plants and animals that share our DNA, the elements running through our veins and the stars from which we descended. Forming a relationship motivates us to care for the living and the non-living aspects of our reality which ultimately leads to conducting ourselves and our actions in ways that are harmonious and not destructive to mother nature. During this entire process we gain a multitude of health benefits that come along with the journey. So why the hell not! Let us all begin to connect with nature for the good of ourselves, our species and everything on the planet.