Mary Oliver is a favorite poet of mine. Her words are crisp, inviting, and provoking. I've been researching "eco-anxiety." That's the new term for feelings of anxiousness sparked by the state of our environment. Worries include the existential threat of climate change, single use plastic choking the oceans, rapid species extinction, increased air pollution, new pandemics, and toxic chemicals contaminating water supplies and our bodies. Gen Z is especially troubled by the climate emergency.
Oliver's words are a reminder to stop and pay attention. Time is short, but the earth around us is astonishing. It's also worth protecting. The spectacular scenery of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem takes my breath away daily. When I travel, I am constantly in awe of this gorgeous planet.
As we go about our daily lives, rushing from one errand to another or joining a conference call, let's remember to bear witness to the beauty of nature. Keeping that sense of wonder is good for our health and for our children's health. The Children & Nature Network reports on a recent study in Mexico that found that children who grew up having a regular experiences outdoors were happier. They were also more likely to have a conservation ethic and be interested in sustainability.
This connection to nature is a good tool for reducing eco-anxiety, while also reinforcing that care for the planet is paramount for all. Time in nature helps us relax, be more focused, and increases well-being. What we are trying to protect can also help us heal.
So live your life. Go for that walk. Catch the sunset. Or just look up. And be sure to tell about it. Taking that pause will help ground us, connect to nature, and ultimately, come together to safeguard this beautiful earth.