Western civilisation has built walls around us, crammed us into packed living spaces with no gardens, forced us into offices to make money to live. We are exposed to less daylight, we work long hours in the dark and sleep through our days.
The very system in place to promote health, has the most toxic work pattern. Our doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and paramedics work extremely long, stressful hours, with shift patterns that don’t allow them proper rest or sunlight exposure.
We’re under so much pressure these days. Financial pressure, family pressure, work pressure, targets, deadlines, pressure to feel, think and look a certain way. We’ve lost who we are, with our place in the Universe, our connection with nature and what’s really important in life.
The term ‘midnight’ literally means the middle of the night. That’s when most of us should actually be half way through our sleep cycle. Modern shift patterns force our sleep cycles into unnatural routines. This has a destructive effect on our mental and physical health, lowering our immune system and influencing mood disorders.
A lack of exposure to nature has also been linked with numerous physical health problems, such as ADHD, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many more.
Our immune system is also poorer when exposed to less nature and we get less Vitamin D, which our bodies need to fight off infections.
Nature is all around us. It’s mystical, it’s medication, and it’s free.
We are one species out of millions of other species on the planet, but we are living as though we’re the only species on Earth. We as homo-sapiens lived in nature for most of our existence, but the man made, wealth driven, urban environment has taken us out of our natural habitat. There will come a time when we are reminded of our true place in nature, and all the stresses of modern life may suddenly seem irrelevant.
Japan has the third highest suicide rates in the world. They now prescribe ‘forest bathing’ to tackle its mental health problem. What if nature could replace our anti-depressant medication epidemic?
Nature helps us to re-connect with the fundamentals of what it means to be human. It allows us to embrace all our senses, pause and take time out from our artificial problems and let our brain rest. In relaxing our mind, our brain repairs itself and forms new neural connections. It can even help us solve problems at a subliminal level. If we’re experiencing changes in our life, it allows us time to contemplate in a ways that’s immersed in the wonders of the world around us.
We’re hardwired for nature from an evolutionary perspective. Many of us travel to mountains, beaches and woods to experience the nature we crave. We go camping and live temporarily without the artificial stresses of modern life. We visit the ocean to swim in real water and experience the calming waves and sounds of the sea.
Nature is Education
Our formal education system ranks children on their scores in box ticking exercises and regurgitation of generic, often short-sighted information. Not only is this damaging for the poorly performing children’s self-esteem, it is killing our children’s mental health, creativity and development.
School playgrounds are concrete, with little stimulus or green space and they are allowed outside briefly at a time dictated by the school. Why not expose our children to the world of nature, the animals, insects, plants, trees and rocks.
We’re actually more distracted when indoors than when in nature, we have too many things competing for our attention when in urban environments. Nature is thought to have a calming effect on our attention- fatigue and our brain’s ability to focus on tasks. It has been proven to be so important for motivation and educational achievement.
Our planet is in a climate crisis. Re-connecting with our place in nature is more important now than ever.
Nature is part of the fabric of life. It’s what keeps us alive. Far more important than how many GCSE’s you have, your job or your material possessions. Without a healthy natural environment, we are nothing.
Why not encourage our children to learn about our complex ecosystem, about the relationships between insects, trees and fungi, gardening and growing vegetables. Why not offer children education about our ever more toxic agriculture and harness our children’s creativity towards Permaculture and new solutions to the environment our children are now forced to live with.
It’s not too late to change the way we think about nature and remember it’s there. To go outdoors and appreciate the real world we are part of instead of the artificial world we have created. Why not prioritise walking in nature over walking in a shopping center? Outdoor adventures over house parties. Lunch breaks outside, looking away from your phone. Turning your garden or doorstep into an environment where insects, birds and animals can thrive….
If you’re passionate about nature, get in touch! I’m always looking for new writers. Drop me a message about your subject and i’ll get back to you.