Human beings are a part of nature, but we often live and act as if we are somehow separate or outside of it. It’s no surprise then that we find turning to nature as a place for healing, ritual, self-reflection, personal growth, and awe can physically improve our health, happiness, and well-being. Beauty, space, life, pattern, natural resources, and changing seasons and light—even viewing art and film depictions of nature—all have positive impacts on our brains: our nerves are calmed, and we sense more creativity, openness, generosity, resilience, connection, and oneness. Regaining our connection to nature can have many facets, all of which improve our well-being.
I will confess that I am someone who cares about nature for its own sake. For its spectacles that dazzle, like the annual pulse of bright red sockeye salmon that gift the watersheds of Bristol Bay with their abundance.
A deeper issue underlies each one’s part in the malaise enveloping the planet’s ecosystems – and its origins date back to long before the industrial revolution. To truly bring ourselves into harmony with the natural world, we must return to seeing humanity as part of it.