Nature Isn't Cancelled - The Years Project

Nature Isn’t Cancelled

By Maggie Badore

These are hard times. 

We fear for ourselves and the vulnerable members of our community. We ache for the far away people we cannot visit. We grieve for our lost loved ones. 

Then there are the other kinds of losses—the jobs, the community gatherings, the sense of collective joy we feel from participating in weddings, concerts or graduations. 

If you’re seeking a way to soothe yourself, or for a place to find some kind of solace, consider finding a way to connect with nature. 

Personally, I’ve found an enormous amount of relief from anxiety in gardening and simply enjoying the springtime sun. I don’t believe there’s a “silver lining” to the pandemic we’re living through. Yes, global greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by an estimated 17 percent, but we cannot claim this as some kind of win in the face of so many lives lost. 

However, I hope this moment may serve as a reminder of how closely we rely on nature, not only for our physical needs, but for our emotional and spiritual needs as well. I also hope we are reminded of how important it is that we protect our natural systems. We need to fight to stop deforestation and restore damaged ecosystems. We must find ways to cut pollution that don’t simply freeze human activity in place. We need to care for our environment so it will be here for us when the next crisis comes. 

We don’t need to be completely immersed in wilderness to access these benefits. No matter where we are, nature is actually all around us. It’s a misunderstanding to think people can be completely cut off from nature, even in the most densely built up and populated cities. 

Visiting an urban green space, caring for a houseplant, stargazing or watching a soothing livestream may offer the mental break you need. Maybe it’s going for a hike, or admiring the clouds, or sitting in the backyard. Maybe for you, it’s reading a field guide, so you can better understand the plants or birds you encounter when it’s safe to go on your next camping trip. Maybe it’s lying on the floor in the dark and listening to your own breathing, and remembering that our breath is part of a natural system that supports us. 

I hope it helps.