5 Tips to Bond with Biodiversity!
Have you ever had wanderlust of beautiful mountains, tall sequoia trees, or making your way to the vast ocean views? Maybe felt drawn to the bird song outside or the sound of leaves under your feet. Throughout time, humans and cultures have been immersed in nature and created rituals in nature with nature. We are drawn to it. Not everything in nature will be each person’s cup of tea – but there is something out there in nature that calls to you and that you can relate to or feel connected to. Maybe something that brings out emotions in you when you witness it – cue thoughts of my dogs, every nature documentary that’s brought me joyous tears, the mountains of Colorado, or the smell of a bouquet of flowers.
are we evolving away from nature?
Biologist E.O Wilson theorizes that evolution is what brings us to seek out nature experiences. We have preferences to be in beautiful, natural spaces because we know they provide us food, comfort, shelter, and joy.
But if that is the case – then I wonder, are we as a society trending away from nature as we evolve?
With the technology, streaming, uploading/downloading, emailing, and social media – many people are tuning out nature even while they’re in it.
This month we will focus on adopting the habit of spending more time with nature.
I love nature – and I genuinely believe that spending time with it one of the most awe-inspiring, soul-shaking ways we can make the connection to this earth and solidify that pull towards sustainability so we can protect it.
In a previous episode, episode 46 ‘Connecting with nature for a happier, sustainable life”, which I will link in the episode description so you can go back and listen to it; I talk about some of the basics, like what is nature, the psychological, physical, and socio-cultural benefits, and how to connect with nature. So I HIGHLY recommend going back to that episode, but I’ll give you the cliff notes so that we are all caught up.
Connecting with nature
Nature is a pretty broad term. It’s everything in our physical world that comes from the earth. Plants, animals, landscapes, you! When we connect with the earth – our entire well-being is improved. Our mind is not only shifted – but uplifted. Our physical bodies begin to heal. And our communities and spirits grow stronger and more full of life.
It’s truly incredible. So what does that have to do with sustainability? Well, in that episode, I bring it all back to a domino effect or a domino circle rather (making those used to be so much fun). Our connection with nature increases our overall well-being, enhancing our environmental awareness, leading to sustainable behavior, which brings about a positive feedback loop of more happiness for the individual, leading to more sustainable behavior and continued well-being. And experts suggest that spending 2 hours per week with nature is the minimum amount of time you need to start to feel that connection. And yes, I’m talking about without technology getting in the way.
So – In this episode, I am going to share some tips that I have that has led me to spend more time with nature and bond with biodiversity so that it might help you create the habit of spending more time with nature as well!
5 Tips to bond with biodiversity
Incorporate it into your routine
I know you might be thinking nature is all go with the flow, and we want to build this authentic bond with biodiversity – why would I try to make it a routine thing? Won’t that take the heart out of it? Well, when you don’t purposely make time for things or people you love – you grow apart. For example, if you love playing guitar but don’t put it into your routine to practice, you won’t have that connection. Or if you keep meaning to check in with that friend but don’t have a trigger in your routine that makes you call or text – you’re likely to grow distant. Because so much of our lives are made up of routines and habits – finding time for nature in our routine is crucial, and as I said above, our habits and behaviors are likely to change as a result of that time spent with nature, so that’s when I suggest going with the flow!
Spend time alone with nature
When you’re making that routine, make sure you set out time to explore it on your own! What happens when we are truly alone with our thoughts without external noise? We start to focus on the things around us. It feels weird for a lot of people. My personal experience was that I would get emotional going on walks alone because it forced me to be introspective while realizing my place on this earth physically and otherwise. (And Honestly, I still do), But my thoughts would always come back to my surroundings. I would realize how resilient and forgiving and healing nature is and reflect that into my own life. To build any relationship, you need alone time. So that might first be building the relationship with yourself, then with nature. But going on a walk isn’t the only option. You can just sit and be. You can garden. Kayak. Watch the sunrise. Practice Green exercise (doing sustainability work like picking up trash while you do something like biking or hiking. There are hundreds of ways to spend time in nature – just try a few things until you find what connects most for you.
Connect to nature with all of your senses
For some reason, on this one, my mind instantly went to dining out as an example for this because I feel like you’re automatically thrown into a space that demands all of the senses. You see the restaurant’s aesthetics, smell the food, touch the booth seat and napkin, taste the food, and hear other guests around you – then you make a judgment about it (I like this or I don’t).
Try doing the same thing with nature, without judgment (another lesson in itself!) Get in close and feel your surroundings, whether it’s the cold water or rough tree bark, or even the plant in your apartment. What can you hear? What can you see that you may not have noticed before? Do you notice nuances that happen at a micro level, like the communities built by ants or mushrooms growing on the side of a log? Do you smell the wet leaves or pine trees? I won’t ask you to lick a frog or anything weird like that, but as you start this practice, you’ll begin to notice patterns and the ever-changing nature of – well, nature. Get to know the intimacies of mother nature so you can strengthen the bond with biodiversity.
Write it down
This one is pretty simple. You’re not only going to remember that connection better but writing things down enables a higher level of thinking. Even if it is only a few sentences. How did spending that time with nature make you feel? What did you see? What did you learn?
Spot the difference
This one is something I am trying to work on actively. One way to spend time with nature and build a more profound connection is to know what we’re looking at. A tree isn’t just a tree – it is so much more than that. A history. Knowledge. A home. A relationship. And they have a name. Is it a maple, a fir, white spruce, or scarlet oak?
“Philosopher Christian Diehm argues that distinguishing species may offer a different way of seeing “nature” that could transform our view of the world around us.” In his writing, he quotes author Donald Culross Peattie, saying, “The first reward of tree study – but one that lasts you to the end of your days – is that as you walk abroad, follow a rushing stream, climb a hill, or sit on a rock to admire the view, the trees stand forth, proclaiming their names to you. Though at first, you may fix their identity with more or less conscious effort, the easy-to-know-species soon become like the faces of your friends, known without thought, and bringing each a host of associations.” But it’s not only trees. It could be birds, flowers, or even the food you eat! See the differences and uniqueness of the beauty around you so you can bond – which will lead you to (you guessed it) more time with nature.
At the end of the day – do it however you can, whenever you can. Whatever feels natural to you!
Something to grow on
For something to grow on this week, the challenge is simple. Use at least one of the tips I’ve given you today and spend two hours or more this week with nature. Try a 15-minute walk a day or sipping your morning coffee outside during the workweek after you’ve finished your breakfast (see, there comes in that routine!) Whatever it is – make it mindful – make it count.
I’ll leave you with this final quote by author and environmental educator Robin Wall Kimmerer.
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”
Until next time, thanks for joining me, neighbor.
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