Connecting with Nature: a path to Health

by Luz Davico – mldavico@gmail.com

Can you imagine leaving your house without a face mask? For most people in Argentina it sounds like a dream – but it is absolutely possible: the offer for nature connection and areas away from crowds have become a popular trend recently, partly in response to the need of vacations that wont add more stress to our lives (can I go to this restaurant? Are there too many people in the pool? Do I share the lobby with many others?) but also in line with a new general concern for our physical and mental health.

First of all, we have to consider what do we mean by connecting with nature : Is it enough to go to the park for a few hours? The reality is that no, it is not, except if it’s a regular practice complemented by others: true connection implies also a long-lasting emotional and physical relationship with nature, that contemplates not only our environment but alsoour attitudes and behaviors . Vacationing in a national park is as important for our connection with the environment as learning about the wildlife that surrounds us, connecting with our plants and animals, taking care of our diet and being aware of our passage through the planet, reducing our impact as much as possible. .

Why is this connection beneficial?

The RSPB , the largest non-profit organization in Europe dedicated to the protection of wildlife, indicates that there isscientific evidence that links a person’s positive relationships with nature with their health and well-being, especially for those suffering from medical conditions. These experiences also feed a virtuous circle that affects our family and social environment, which in turn is reflected in greater well-being and general awareness of biodiversity and environmental conservation. There are no losers in this relationship!

At the foot of the waterfall

In times of pandemic this becomes especially necessary, for us and for nature. From our side, the confinement of the quarantine and the sedentary lifestyle of the home office has caused us stress, fatigue and even physical problems: going out to an open space, taking off our chinstrap, walking and breathing the perfume of the forest floor renews us mentally and physically . And on the side of nature, our absence in the streets, the lesser circulation of cars and airplanes, the silence of our nights has given a respite to the environment, and has even generated that some animals in cities With green areas, they advance over spaces where they were not seen: sea lions in the streets, wild cats in the neighborhoods and deer in the patio of our houses. What better opportunity are we going to have to reconnect?

This situation also gives us a great opportunity, to change our habits in pursuit of preserving this unexpected side effect and even enhancing it: educating ourselves and our people, improving our practices and customs, and choosing wisely. increased awareness of our impact and our footprint.

How can we reconnect with nature?

First of all, it is important be aware of our impact Y take decisions considering it. We know that it is very difficult to change an entire lifestyle from one moment to the next, but fortunately it is not necessary: every little action we take adds up, and every time we repeat it we are fostering a habit in ourselves and those around us, which in the long run will result in conscious practice.

It is also important to demand that our representatives include the issue on the political agenda: the environment and its protection are issues that should be a priority at all levels of government, as it directly influences the quality of life of all inhabitants.

But, on a practical level? Where to start?

There are many things we can do from our home and from our humble personal position.

We leave you below a list of suggestions, and we invite you to contribute your ideas in the comments.

Also spreading information is part of the mission: Share this article with whoever you think will be interested!

Boy stroking a horse

Our suggestions:

  • Separate waste and start a homemade compost Separating recyclables is as easy as having an extra bag for clean, dry plastics, paper and glass. If we encourage a little more we can also compost the remains of raw vegetables and fruits, it does not take a large space: with a paint bucket with a lid on the balcony it is enough, and in a few months we will have black soil for our plants and to share .
  • Buy products loose or with more ecological packages : There are more and more proposals throughout the country for health food stores that sell us products in our own jars and containers. If you don’t have any nearby, or are looking for other products, consider before buying if the package is recyclable and if it is too large or unnecessary. By supporting brands that make green decisions, we encourage all of them to do so.
  • Choose tourist destinations with social and nature commitments: the environment where we choose to rest undoubtedly contributes to our experience and the memories we create. Visiting a national park, an ecological reserve or an organic farm will put us in direct contact with the environment and nature that surrounds us, and we will return not only recharged but also with new and valuable learning that perhaps a shopping spree does not offer us. Supporting small projects with social commitments also allows you to contribute to the community and enjoy a more authentic and memorable experience.
  • Cooperate in community ecological projects: in Bariloche the Clean Mountains Day , a campaign organized by the Club Andino Bariloche in which volunteers travel the mountain trails collecting garbage; and the Standing Tree Association generates many proposals throughout the year in which you can collaborate. In each area of the country there are dozens of non-profit associations like these that promote ecological activities and cooperatives that allow them to get involved with caring for the environment economically or as volunteers. An option for a weekend different !

Whatever our choice, and no matter how large or small the actions we take, the important thing is to make the decision: to make a change in our lives or to affirm and expand a change that we had already undertaken, in pursuit of a better quality of life .

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