Reconnecting with nature has environmental and mental health benefits

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee at The Guardian writes about the deeper human issue at risk in our ongoing environmental crises:

If we go to the root of the present ecological crisis we will find a state of disconnection. We appear frighteningly disconnected from real awareness of the effects of our materialistic culture upon the very ecosystem that supports us. The challenge is to develop a value-based economic structure, that is not concerned solely with our material well-being, but embraces the whole human being – body and spirit – as well as the rich biodiversity of the Earth.

He goes on to detail how we can achieve this advanced model of sustainable business:

We need to explore ways that businesses can serve humanity in its deepest sense, rather than creating a poverty of spirit as well as an ecological wasteland – develop an awareness that the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the energy we use are not just commodities to be consumed, but part of the living fabric of a sacred Earth. Then we are making a real relationship with our environment.

This deepening of awareness may seem idealistic and impractical, but only a few decades ago organic farming, which respects the well-being of the soil, was considered uneconomic and idealistic. Now it is recognised as both environmentally and economically sustainable.

I went hiking with friends this weekend and told them about the Japan's forest therapy research and the studies that found a walk in a park can reset our "fuzzy brains." None of these people work in the green space, but the idea resonated and even seemed like common sense. Whether you want to think of this connection between nature and health as sacred and soul-enhancing or as a benefit to mental well-being, the concept is easy enough to explain that we just need more people to recognize the connection.

Tags: Ecological Economics | Ecology | Economics

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