Be true to
yourself. Don't be a victim of contemporary society's conquest
of natural systems within and around you. If you have had an
attractive "feel good" experience in nature, learn
how to further enjoy and strengthen its contribution to the well-being
of yourself, society and the environment.
From The Web of Life
Doesn't nature have
restorative and regenerative healing powers?
If not, how then how
does nature create and sustain its purity, balance and peace
along with its optimums of diversity and life without producing
garbage or pollution?
Humanity is part of nature.
When our psyche is genuinely connected to nature, we feel better
and benefit from nature's recuperative powers.
and our psyche live indoor lives, separated from nature, we and
our psyche are inherently part of nature. This means that the
undeniable, purifying, self-healing and recycling powers found
in natural systems help us heal our injured psyche and thinking
when we genuinely reconnect them with authentic nature. Then
we and nature help heal each other for we are once again united
thinking often scoffs at this notion, others applaud the beneficial
results this significant science produces. It is important to
keep in mind that the wellness of our
thinking determines our health, relationships and destiny.
the difference between the state of the unadulterated natural
world and that of industrial society clearly show that while
we suffer from warped thinking and relationships, unadulterated
nature creates and sustains its own perfection that we inherit
as part of nature at birth?
Think for yourself.
Explain reasonably to yourself your attractive experiences in
nature and the hundreds of substantiated findings, similar to
those listed below, with respect to our relationship with natural
rejuvenate and improve their lives by having a pet, going for
a hike, keeping a garden, or vacationing in a beautiful place.
have shorter hospitalizations, less need for pain medications,
and fewer complaints about discomfort when they have hospital
windows that overlook trees rather than brick walls.
cells that provided views of rolling landscapes were found to
make fewer sick calls than inmates whose cell windows overlooked
Pets have positive
effects on patients with dementia. Even patients with impaired
mental abilities are able to connect with cats or dogs.
people who live in environments that are more natural, live longer.
stress victims recover by connecting in nature to "something
larger than themselves." in nature.
people and cultures seldom display or cause the problems that
undermine industrial society.
ADHD: Spending time in "green"
settings reduced ADHD symptoms in a national study of children
aged 5 to 18. The study was done by Frances Kuo, PhD, and Andrea
Faber Taylor, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Activities were done inside, outside in areas without much greenery
(such as parking lots), and in "greener" spots like
parks, backyards, and tree-lined streets. The kids showed fewer
ADHD symptoms after spending time in nature, according to their
parents. Symptoms evaluated by the questionnaire included remaining
focused on unappealing tasks, completing tasks, listening and
following directions, and resisting distractions. "In each
of 56 analyses, green outdoor activities received more positive
ratings than did activities taking place in other settings,"
write Kuo and Taylor. It didn't matter where the children lived.
Rural or urban, coastal or inland, the findings held true for
all regions of the country."
American Journal of Public Health, September, 2004
outside is the key, to the childhood obesity issue...where they
can move more." said Bernard Gutin, professor of pediatrics
and physiology at the Georgia Prevention Institute Medical College
of Georgia. He reported to USA Today (11/16/04) that his research
with 3rd graders showed that children who ate healthy snacks
and engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity 70-80 minutes
build more bone and muscle, greater cardiovascular fitness and
add less fat than childrenwho don't participate in such activities.
ADDICTION Most addiction treatment
involves helping people resist the immediate impulse long enough
for the frontal cortex to "remember" the long term
pain. One "tool" people use to do this is through calling
each other (every AA or other 12-step meeting has a phone list
where you can call another addict 24/7 if you're temped to take
a drink, eat Ben & Jerry's, buy an item you don't need, use
a credit card, gamble, have sex with a prostitute, whatever your
problem addiction is.) Other tools involve repeating mantras
("slogans") or prayers, getting social support at meetings,
receiving "chips" for days of "abstinence"
etc. A lot of addicts have put over 70 years of thought into
developing these various behavioral "tricks" for resisting
the initial impulse "one day at a time.
This can easily be applied to the short term impulse gratification
that is ruining our planet through obtaining satisfactions that
help break the addiction but are environmentally destructive.
In Project NatureConnect, your
sense or attraction that is seeking satisfaction gets it in a
environmentally supportive way when they do a nature-connecting
activity. It gives nature added value, too.
I agree that PNC is one of the methods whereby we can give people
immediate reward experiences with environmentally healthy behaviour.
I have found, in leading PNC events that, just as you say, it
builds a sense of community, and mutual support. Perhaps most
important, it helps people learn to trust their own senses and
trust in the natural world."
Finding Hope Up a Creek
Thanks to John Beal, what was once a culvert dripping with waste
is now a beautifully restored stream brimming with beaver and
For a man broken by war, John
Beal found himself an unlikely place of refuge.
Told that he had less than
four months to live, the disabled Vietnam veteran wandered down
to the stream behind his house to contemplate his future. Hamm
Creek was an open sewer, plugged up with garbage. Beal was still
recovering from bullet wounds and haunted by flashbacks. Besides
suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he had gone through
three heart attacks, followed by a serious motorcycle accident.
"I went down to the stream
behind my house and just cried, wondering how I'd care for my
wife and four kids," says Beal. "Then the idea came
to me: if you're going to check out, so to speak, try to leave
this place better than when you found it. I looked at this wreck
of a stream, filled with refrigerators, old tires, torn garbage
bags, broken swings and stinking carpets and all I wanted to
do was clean it up."
Maybe it was a way of processing
his memories of the wreckage of war, he reflects. Or maybe it
was survivor's guilt. Instead of despairing, he started pulling
out the garbage. "When I yanked out this huge refrigerator,
I thought it would surely kill me. Instead I felt better."
Since that day 23 years ago,
Beal has directed all of his energies to restoring this polluted
Seattle, Wash. stream. During the last 10 years he has moved
on to restoring the entire watershed. Beal has recruited hundreds
of crews to clean up and replant around the streams and has now
established a network of volunteer groups living in the area,
as well as drawing the support and interest of the local Duwamish
Through sheer persistence,
Beal eventually raised enough public awareness and pressure to
persuade the local utility to allow Hamm Creek, which had been
channelized and paved into a culvert, to be daylighted and rerouted
over its property. As a result, what was once a culvert dripping
with waste is now a beautifully recontoured and replanted stream
brimming with beaver, salmon, and other fish.
For Beal, the impulse to do
environmental restoration is itself restorative: "It has
empowered me and kept me alive." That same impulse has spurred
the energies of thousands of volunteers. "I've seen remarkable
things happen to people who connect with Mother Earth,"
he concludes, describing dozens of cases of people disabled physically
or psychologically who benefit from the exercise and feeling
"I remember watching a
young man who had been in a wheelchair for eight years come out
to help us weed and plant," he says. "After two years,
he's almost able to walk." At first, the young man would
fall out of his wheelchair, Beal recalls. But now, he says, he
is able to clamber down the slope of the shore, willing himself
through. "He was out there every single day. And lately
he's saying, 'Now I've got a mission in life.'"
No matter how stressed, angry,
depressed or troubled they are, whether it's a jail crew sent
to clean up litter for the day, or a class of students, they
seem to derive pleasure from the activity, says the riverkeeper.
The redemptive feelings Beal
describes are echoed by thousands of visitors and volunteers
who have come to his restored creeksite. They are also confirmed
by an emerging movement loosely called "ecopsychology,"
the study of nature's therapeutic benefits.
In the last decade, hundreds
of studies have begun documenting what many people know intuitively
about the healing power of nature. "Nature is in some fundamental
way important for the human psyche, and as such it is really
central to public health," says Roger Ulrich, director of
the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University.
Ulrich has tested these theories
on patients recovering from cardiac and abdominal surgery. He
found that patients whose hospital rooms overlooked trees required
less pain medication and recovered more quickly than those whose
rooms overlooked brick walls.
John Beal, like the ecopsychologists,
believes that the impulse toward environmental restoration is
about the need for connection and purpose in a world increasingly
dissociated from nature.
"It's the connection to
something larger than yourself," says Beal. "When you
are so overwhelmed by your depression, or anxiety or sense of
illness, it takes away that worry; it calms that fear."
Francesca Lyman is the author of 'Inside the Dzanga-Sangha
Rain Forest' and 'The Greenhouse Trap.'