When we sit in a forest and listen to the wind, the birds, the running stream, it calms us in a way no drug can. The peace and tranquility triggers something in our DNA. Just the simple act of floating in the ocean can make us feel relaxed, recharged, and even healed.
This requires nothing of us. It’s innate. It just happens, somehow, mysteriously. Time in nature changes us. It clears out the unimportant rambling noise that runs through our over processed brains and makes everything quiet and simple.
When we were young, we used the natural world as a playground to spark imagination and creativity. We experienced the wonderment that comes from watching a hummingbird flutter around or of finding an earthworm squirming through the dirt. There were endless things to explore.
Then we grew up and forgot about this connection to the natural world. Other interests became more important and we learned how to rationalize. Industries were created to serve our needs and we disconnected from the consequences of our choices and the effect they have on our environment.
But those trees, the ocean, the turtle, their health is our health. The damage we’ve done is so powerful that it’s threatening our survival, and theirs. No longer can we rationalize our pollution without fearing the consequences.
Where will we go when we have no natural place to be healed by either because it’s been destroyed or poisoned so badly we can’t use it? What will happen to our mental state when our only source of relaxation is found behind a screen?
Destroying nature isn’t a demonstration of our strength; it’s a grand example of our weakness, our sickness. Our natural world gives itself to us with no expectations. It surrenders to the chainsaws and the chemicals without a fight. How can we possess the ability to destroy something so central to our own survival?
Its magnificent beauty should humble us, not drive us to annihilate it. We must be more conscious, more aware of our actions and the affect they have on our planet. It can’t sustain us on this path forever and when it’s gone, so are we.
What you can do
1. Ditch the plastic water bottles and choose glass
Over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans. If we stay this course, by 2050 there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish.
The Guardian – “Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for the first time”
National Geographic – “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”
The Telegraph – “More plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050, report warns”
2. Buy USDA Certified Organic
Buying USDA certified organic food from local, family-run farms protects our environment from toxic chemicals that threaten soil health, bees, animals, drinking water, human health, and the environment.
3. Support environmental organizations that work to protect the environment
NRDC – Natural Resources Defense Council
The Sierra Club
Friends of the Earth
Union of Concerned Scientists
Earth Justice, because the earth needs a good lawyer
Christian Science Monitor – “10 organizations that protect the environment”
Mother Jones – “A Guide to Environmental Non-Profits”
6. Live Sustainably
Sustainable living goes beyond individual acts of eco-friendliness such as recycling, energy and water conservation, or controlling pollution. It is all of the above, but more importantly, it’s the general principle that people should reduce or eliminate waste to achieve no net increase in the need for natural resources. Sustainable living is essential for preventing humans from exhausting Earth’s natural resources, including fertile and arable land, breathable air, and drinkable water. Sustainability is the merging of all eco-friendly methods into a general lifestyle in which excess or unnecessary waste and increased resource consumption are things of the past. – Consumer Protection, “Ways to Help Protect the Environment”
Feature image by Mustafagull at iStock