I’ve written a bit about nature deficit disorder on the blog in the past, which Richard Louv describes as “the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.”
It’s a very modern affliction, but one with potentially big consequences. If people have little experience of or appreciation for nature, it’s much harder to motivate them to care for it. The biodiversity crisis, the end of coral reefs and the decline of fish stocks, the plight of bees, the disappearance of suburban wildlife, even climate change, are all due at least in part to our failure to pay attention to the world around us. If we’re not paying attention, we won’t notice distress signs. We won’t recognise our interdependence or recognise the value of nature. Things will be gone before we even realised they were at risk.
In some ways, environmentalism is pointless without nature connection – something I am working on in a forthcoming project. And in the meantime, I’m always interested in projects that reconnect us to the natural world.
The latest is 30 Days Wild, from the Wildlife Trusts. It’s a month long challenge to make more room for the wild in our lives: “The great thing about nature is that you can find it anywhere, so think about finding the wild in your life every single day – taking the kids to school; walking the dog; looking out from the train on your commute. The chances are that nature is already there, but maybe you haven’t noticed it yet.”
Visit the website to sign up and download resources for things to do each day. It looks like it would work particularly well for families, but not exclusively so – the idea that playing outside is for children may be part of the problem! There are all sorts of ‘random acts of wildness’ to choose from, varying from following a bumblebee to recording nature sounds, to volunteering or art activities. Most of them won’t take any time or preparation.
You’ve got all of June to explore it, and hopefully it will open up the world around us in ways that last a lot longer than that. Find out more here.