What do you think; Is connecting to nature important or just hippy talk ?

We are familiar with the idea that people are spending less and less time in nature but more alarmingly to me is  the lack of conscious awareness about the link between spending time in nature and sustainability.

In Australia, there is a lot of talk about sustainability and the new National Curriculum for schools includes sustainability as a cross cutting theme. The curriculum framework has three components:

• Sustainability action process
• Knowledge of ecological and human systems
• Repertoires of practice.

What about the stuff that comes before these things?! Before the action and before knowledge, before innovation i.e. the experience of nature, noticing the small things and valuing the connection.  How can we imagine sustainability and how to approach it when we aren’t even sure about the thing that we are trying to sustain?

We know that emotional connections with nature increase actions that are pro sustainability. Emotional connections come through direct experience. It stands to reason then that we should be placing equal value into spending regular and quality time interacting with the natural world and talking about its value in conversation with each other and to our kids as we do to topics such as saving water, recycling plastics..

What do you think? Is this important?

To answer this question, lets imagine some scenarios that might happen if we stop teaching and demonstrating to each other including our kids the value of being in nature……

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3 Responses to What do you think; Is connecting to nature important or just hippy talk ?

  1. Matty Z says:

    Great post. It reminds me of a friend’s PhD thesis which had a section which asked, “Where did nature go?” She writes: “The loss of the concept of nature is also apparent in environmental education discourse in southern Africa. The following serves as an illustration: in the review of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) practices (Lotz-Sisitka et al 2006a) the word ‘nature’ (meaning the natural environment) did not occur once in 77 pages…” (Ashwell 2010: 47).
    So it’s an excellent point you make about time in nature being estranged from sustainability, and that has to be partly because ‘nature connection’ has been cast as one time or another as a kind of hippy earth-love. The concern is that we’ll end up with learners who know everything about analyzing global problems and practices but who themselves have acute ecophobia.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That example you give is astounding but not surprising!

  3. Anonymous says:

    its both.. important and hippy talk!! Hippy is good! 🙂
    Its a very thought provoking post. I am sorry to say that the word ‘sustainability’ has been bastardised across the board.. ‘mindfulness’ is starting point and i think you are correct.

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