Completing the Puzzle: Why Nature Matters
With so many devices to keep a person entertained in the confines of their home, it is hard to blame anyone for spending much of their time inside. You may be reading this in your room. I wrote these words sitting at home. So it can come across as a trite platitude when you are told to spend more time in nature. You have heard that time and time again. You know it is important. But knowing is only one piece of the puzzle.
By stepping outside, a response is triggered in your mind and body that no words can match. The sights and sounds of nature have a physiological effect that reduces stress and puts your body in a more relaxed state. Touch trees, run your fingers through blades of grass, smell flowers, and breathe in the air. Let your senses take in nature directly and you will build a relationship with nature.
By spending more time in nature, you understand more and more that the separation between nature and society is an imaginary line. Every single bit of technology on your desk, every bit of material used to make the building or bus you are in- all of it is derived from the Earth. We have simply taken all those elements and mixed and rearranged them in a very unique way. By seeing a human home not as something different from a bird’s nest or beaver dam, but rather a more complex version of the same thing, you can feel the connection to nature and the need to care for it.
From there, you will be more aware of opportunities around you to care for the world around you. You can use science class to practice gardening. You can find countless volunteer programs helping the environment in your local area or beyond.
These might feel like small steps in a world this big. It’s so easy to be cynical and feel like you have no impact. On one hand, towering trees and endless fields can make you feel small. But they also show how literally every single thing that exists is interconnected. From the plants rooted in the soil, to the soil stretching across the land. From the animals eating those plants, to the air those animals breathe stretching across the Earth’s atmosphere. Nature reveals everything as integral pieces to a larger puzzle. Those tall trees have stood for centuries, and those animals will give birth to offspring. Nature connects you not only to everything in the present, but to the past and future as well.
Remember that your small actions lead to other actions. Recycling, planting one small tree, and picking up of trash off the ground can inspire your friend to follow suit and think more positively. That can affect another person, and another. No one piece completes any puzzle, but no one puzzle is complete without every piece.