“When we take Nature away from people we take away their ability to be full human beings.”
Today while I was looking for interesting content for client I happened across a book by National Best Selling Author and Audubon Medal Recipient, Richard Louv. It’s called, “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of the Nature Deficit Disorder“.
Richard’s book was published a couple years ago, so I feel a bit late to party, however, it simply resonated too deeply to risk letting it pass by without mention to family, friends, acquaintances, or for that matter like-minded souls who I have not met, but who might read about the book here.
What is the Nature Principle exactly? Great question. Louv describes it as “…a principle that holds that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit, and survival”.
Further, “..It is primarily a statement of philosophy. The Nature Principle is supported by a growing body of theoretical, anecdotal, and empirical research that describes the restorative power of nature — its impact on our senses and intelligence; on our physical, psychological, and spiritual health; and on the bonds of family, friendship, and the multi species community.”
“Illuminated by ideas and stories from good people I have met, this book asks: What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in electronics? How can each of us help create that life-enhancing world, not only in a hypothetical future, but right now, for our families and for ourselves?”
It was my very good fortune to have been a child shepherded by parents, and then older siblings, who lived a good portion of the day outdoors. When I wasn’t weeding the gardening, baling hay, collecting chicken eggs, or cutting grass on the family hobby farm, I could be found climbing trees, laying in the grass under the big pines, discovering a den of baby garter snakes, fishing on a Minnesota lake, exploring in the woods, or paddling a canoe in the Boundary Waters.
Love of the outdoors, the itch to get out from behind four walls, intense curiosity, the sensation that the closer I am to a ledgestone outcropping on a wilderness lake the closer I am to the Divine, are results of having been given the privilege to experience the Wonder of Nature at such an early age, and thoughout my life. The Nature Principle reminds me how vital it to my personal well-being, as well as the well-being of our collective humanity, to get out into the woods, or into a city park. Shut off the TV, the computer, the phone. Take 5 minutes to sit outside on your back stoop and look into the sky, or at the needles of a tree. Lift some snow and touch it to your tongue, squish mud, whittle a stick, stomp in a puddle. Go Wonder in the outdoors for 5 minutes, or 10, or 30.
“The Nature Principle suggests that, in an age of rapid environmental, economic, and social transformation, the future will belong to the nature-smart — those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of nature, and who balance the virtual with the real.”
So if technology frustration is leaving you numb, and you’ve been feeling a little out of your natural orbit, if cabin fever is starting to set in, and you ache for a walk among the cedars, long to skip stones, or peel birch bark from fallen logs, I encourage you to pick up The Nature Principle and reconnect for awhile. Go for a Wonder in the Woods. Find balance. Find your ability to be you. As you do you’ll be reminded of what it means to be fully human.