World Environment Day 2017: “Connecting People to Nature”
May 25, 2017
Without a doubt, the Earth is a giving planet. It provides and supports humankind’s every need to thrive and survive daily living — water, food, shelter, warmth, air, energy, natural medicine and many more “ecosystem services”. Aside from these comprehensive ecosystem services, we depend completely on nature’s ability to develop things, and create a healthy and happy life.
However, as modernization and technology advances, our connection with nature decreases. We are more interested on superficial things that the virtual world offers. We spend less time appreciating, nurturing, conserving, and caring for Mother Nature.
According to Richard Louv, people today, children and adults alike, are suffering from a “nature-deficit disorder” — a reduced awareness and diminished ability to find meaning of life. Children no longer play freely in their backyards, explore the woods or wade in streams because their lives are overly protected. Parents worry too much that insect borne diseases or germs might harm them. Aside from that, schools are slowly excluding field trips and nature immersion from their curriculum. The youth today are mostly engaged in indoor activities that primarily involve modern hi-tech gadgets. But according to research, children with more connection to nature are healthier, happier, perhaps smarter, and more creative than those who do more indoor activities. Thus, World Environment Day was initiated.
On June 5, 1972, the United Nations designated the World Environment Day as a flagship campaign for the arising environmental issues: marine pollution, global warming, climate change, sustainable consumption and wildlife exploitation. Every year the WED (World Environment Day) has a new theme to address advocacies of environmental causes. This year’s theme is, “Connecting People to Nature,” which promotes outdoor activities, appreciation of the beauty and importance of nature, and taking the call to protect the Earth and Mother Nature. It encourages us to enjoy the wonders of nature and participate in activities such as visiting our country’s national parks, jumping into the lake, hiking or trekking along mountains or valleys, going on a camping adventure, or being one with nature.
Here are 10 reasons why nature should be in our priority to keep our family intact, according to David Miller:
- It fires up our children’s imagination.
- It puts everyone in an equal ground.
- It lets children and parents burn off energy in an healthy way.
- It teaches empathy, passion and connection
- It teaches that the outcome aren’t always predictable.
- It creates opportunities for everyone to be inventive.
- It’s instructive about the circle of life.
- Lots of outdoor play is proving to have specific health benefits.
- It’s the only place to learn so many life skills.
- It could one day save people’s lives.
If we really want to protect and conserve our environment and biodiversity, reconnecting to nature is essential to both adults and children. We must ensure that the next generation has the opportunity for profound encounters with nature, because if they don’t love and have passion for nature, then who would be the next stewards of our environmental causes in the future?
We should always remind ourselves that nature gives us anything free-of-charge. Apart from physical goods, nature provides less tangible, but just as important gifts like beauty, art, aesthetics, and spirituality. Always remember that nature doesn’t need us. We need nature.
Join the global celebration of World Environmental Day by participating in creating the world’s biggest nature photo album. Share a photo or video of your favorite place in nature using the official hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay or #WithNature and tell us why connecting with nature is special to you.