Most of the US population is concentrated in indoor settings, spending minimal time outside. In 2005, author Richard Louv coined the phrase “Nature-Deficit Disorder” to describe the toil of humans as disconnected from the natural world. In his book, The Nature Principle, Louv poses this key question: “What could our lives and our children’s lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?” As we think of our Earth Day celebrations, Unplug and Play Week activities, and climate marches, let’s ponder Louv’s question and commit to investing in our health and the health of our communities by getting outside.
The following resources are intended to inspire and support this quest to break down isolation by expanding in to nature.
- Take a hike. Perhaps one of the easiest first steps is to just take a walk outdoors. It requires low investment, little gear, and as much time as you want to spend. Author and reporter David Gelles provides a guide on how to make the most of your saunter in his New York Times article, “How to Be Mindful on a Hike”.
- Teach them young. Many suggest that early exposure to nature is the surest way to instill a lifelong love of the outdoors – and may be the key to addressing many of our environmental issues. Jill Suttie, contributor for Yes! Magazine provides helpful tips on How to Raise an Environmentalist.
- AWE-some. Crave a little more awe in your life? Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, explains that we can tap in to awe in so many ways – experiences, conversations, music, and more In Mindful magazine, Keltner takes readers through a first-of-its-kind VR awe walk through Muir Woods.
- Celebrate Earth Day, every day. This notion is nothing new – the call to extend our care for Mother Earth past the annual celebration. Emma Loewe, associate green and home editor at mindbodygreen, offers 9 Whimsical Rituals to Help You Tap Into Your Inner Earth Goddess. These rituals range from planting a garden to intriguing mindfulness mediations.