Research shows that the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need. Some folks believe that everyone, even the young, have a right to inernet access. Perhaps that is true, but wouldn't it serve everyone better if all humans had access to the natural world? It is, after all, a part of your humanity! I'm lucky. I'm surrounded by water and nature every day. But many humans can't say that.
And did you know that humans are hardwired to love, and need, exposure to nature? Science has shown that regardless of culture, people gravitate towards images of nature...the savannah, in particular. Human's inborn love and appreciation of nature may explaine why people love to live in houses with windows that open up onto breathtaking views.
I was surprised to learn that an Australian researcher has found that humans actually suffer when they are removed from nature. I know I would suffer terribly! This explains the devastation humans feel when someone's special place gets destoyed by fire, or a shopping mall is built on it. I learned, too, that humans have the ability to track by scent! And some humans even rival bats in their echolocation or biosonar abilities. How cool is that! The University of Michigan has shown that spending just one hour in nature can improve memory and attention span by a whopping 20%! Employers who keep this in mind and design their office buildings accordingly have more productive employees with fewer sick days. In yet another study, Pennsylvania researchers show that patients in the hospital who have a room with tree views have shorter hospital stays, require less medication, and have fewer negative comments about their experience afterwards.
Nature reduces depression and improves psychological wellbeing, too. Swedish researchers have shown that joggers who run in a green space (as opposed to a track indoors or in the city) feel more refreshed, have less anxiety, and are less depressed. Nature just makes us FEEL good! And spending time in nature improves relationships with fellow human beings. Nature lovers are more generous and are generally more compassionate, kind and patient, as well.
Not everyone can get out into nature as often as they'd like to, so here are some of my favorite suggstions for enjoying nature right in your own back yard!
Create rock art; gaze at the stars, plant a tree from a seed, watch a sunset/sunrise; go butterfly watching; keep a moon diary; run through a pile of leaves; paint with mud; search for spider webs, plant a flower, explore a tree; enjoy a backyard campfire; create a treasure map; enjoy the birds (bird watching); make a birdfeeder; paint rocks; make snow angels (or sand angels at the beach); go on a backyard bug hunt (makes for a tasty lunch too...), or jump puddles after a good rain. There are countless ways to experience the wonders of nature without ever leaving your own property.
Enjoying nature doesn't mean investing in a lot of fancy equipment or clothes, enjoying nature can simply mean having a family picnic outdoors and smelling the fresh air. Nature makes life worth living and everyone; humans, frogs, and all creatures, need to reconnect with Mother Nature now, more than ever!