Naturalness

I dug in the dirt today. It was nice to get back into the soil after a long winter. I feel a profound connectedness to the natural world and it is in this sort of work that emphasizes that to me. I feel the pulsating energy of life bursting out in all directions. It is a comforting presence this wild sentience of the natural world.

It is an ancient wisdom this knowledge of the land. Our ancestor’s once relied on this essential knowledge of the earth.  Progress of modern civilization has left most people especially city dwellers unnaturally detached from the natural world.

Exposure to the nature was once so commonplace, but times have changed and we’ve changed with them.

Are we losing our naturalness?

In his book “The Nature Principle’  Richard Louv calls it Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv defines nature deficit disorder as an atrophied awareness and a diminished ability to find meaning in the life that surrounds us.

The author explains and quite passionately that “The traditional ways that humans have experienced nature are vanishing.” which greatly affects our health and well-being. He evokes The Nature Principle which states “that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being and survival.”

Louv sites example after example of scientific studies backing up his well thought out claim.  He brings up the validity of green exercise and it’s proven enhancement of mood and self-esteem while reducing feelings of anger and depression.

Louv refers to a study which found that humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological and physical breakdowns that are similar to those observed in animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat.

This should be of no surprise to any animal of the human variety reading this.

I remember growing up in the Seventies and Eighties.  I remember being outside, if the weather was nice, we’d be outside all day. The streets and yards and parks were full of kids running and playing.  These days it seems that all the kids are inside, tapping on one screen or another. With all the good that the digital age has brought, we have paid for it; this pixel existence we call progress.

We are losing our natural intelligence; knowing the signs of nature.  Nature is becoming quite unnatural for many of us, myself included.

Where once our ancestors roamed the wild land, living as one with the planet in an equitable balance with natural world, modern humans set out to conquer and conquer we have.   We control our physical surroundings to the point to where we can bring day to night and water and life to where none exists.

Humans have progressed out beyond the Earth. We can harness the power of the microscopic and the macroscopic.  We have cured diseases and built bridges and dams and power plants….We are a powerful race with much to accomplish, and much to lose.

We have polluted ourselves and our world, always in a constant battle of who will control: humankind or nature.  Now nature is fighting back and I can only wonder and hope for the best.

And I do hope for the best and I do have hope for the future.  I see it in the eyes of a child fascinated with a ladybug in the backyard, a teenager taking water samples at a local restoration project. I see it in the experienced hands of the citizen gardener, the urban naturalist and the amateur botanist. There are success stories, more and more everyday.

We all share this love for nature and it’s up to us, each one of us to get back what we have lost, restore our naturalness and teach our children how to coexist with technology and nature together.  These concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I recommend reading this excellent book “the Nature Principle” by Richard Louv and  then get moving, even if it’s a five-minute walk in the neighborhood, it’s a start and all it takes is that first step to get going…. better yet bring a friend and save our naturalness one step and one friend at a time.

Have a wild day!

Strawberryindigo.

 

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16 thoughts on “Naturalness

  1. Wonderful article! To me, nature is a natural extension of myself. I feel the need to immerse myself into it as much as possible, otherwise, I feel depleted of energy. Perhaps living here in the Pacific Northwest has spoiled me.

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  2. Pingback: NEW NATURE-SMART CAREERS: 11 for the Future and for Right Now | National Association for Environmental Education

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! A very well written article that drives the point home. I will be sure to check out Richard Louv and the Nature Principle. Another book that I found recently is called “Nature and the Human Soul”: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, by Bill Plotkin. The Author works using Nature immersion therapy to change lives and lays out guidelines for a Soulcentric society (As opposed to an Egocentric Society).

    The Power of Nature is so immense, for anyone who wants to support a great charity, I recommend the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation: http://www.ftpf.org

    But ultimately it will be our own Consciousness change which will change the world, once more of us realize how much we appreciate the nature around us, and that marveling at the infinite beauty of a forest, we can find a much more captivating storyline than any television show or video game.

    Happy Trails!
    Phoenix

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  4. This was such a lovely article. I detected your sadness, and share it, but I also share your hope. You have got me thinking… how can we spread the message? I will start by taking a friend from the city for a walk with me soon. Thank you! :-)

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  5. Well said, and I agree. There is also the idea that we are living in an age of noise pollution (as well as light pollution etc.) and this is in fact may in part be responsible for some of our current issues with crime as well as depression rising in the general population and so on. I try to get out-of-doors when I can, but it is difficult to get away from all the “pixels”. I appreciate the reminder, and I love the green in your pictures (we are just now getting our rain/moisture).

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  6. Like you, growing up was all about being outside (away from chore-assigning adults) in the woods, riding bikes, playing games that we made up without adult -imposed rules and order, doing anything that would keep us out of our houses a little longer. I doubt that I would have survived as a child today, forced into structured activities, kept indoors and not allowed to roam freely as far as my legs, my bike, or my 12 cents bus fare would carry me. Even as an adult, I’m convinced that I was not really meant to live indoors. It’s digging in the dirt, helping things grow, and watching the wildness that survives in my urban city block that sustains me.

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