Youth Blog Series: Nature Nurture

Be the Change’s Youth Blog Series highlights blogs written by university student interns at Be the Change Earth Alliance. In the blogs, the interns reflect on their experience completing “Action Packs,” which are learning resources that guide students in research, critical thinking and tangible action related to a global sustainability topic.

Action Pack Summary

The Nature Nurture Action Pack explores our personal connection to the natural world, which is essential for creating true local and global sustainability. 

Starting with James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis, students are exposed to a worldview where the earth is seen as an interconnected living entity that we are merely participants in, not rulers over. 

This distinction can be understood as the difference between shallow and deep ecology. 

The former views nature as important, but not equal in value to human beings and communities. 

The latter echoes the notion that humans are not central or superior in the earth’s ecosystem, and that other beings, too, have critical value and worth.

After completing actions within Nature Nurture, such as spending quiet time in natural space or going on regular walks with family, students will experience a core concept in the Action Pack: biophilia, meaning love of nature and life. Students will tap into their innate connection with the rest of life that makes time in nature so enjoyable. In this process, students can grow in their understanding of nature as beyond a repository of resources to a place for healing and growth, experiencing the benefits of ecotherapy.

My Reflections

I chose to spend time in quiet contemplation as one of my actions. I went outside the office and spent 20 minutes in quiet contemplation in nature. I say about myself, and it’s been said about me, that I am uncomfortable with silence and stillness...but this experience demonstrated that, if mindfully undertaken, I don’t need constant extra stimulation to thrive- nature provides enough. I’m hesitant to talk to my family about the benefits of nature, because I acknowledge that not everyone has time in their schedule to spend time out in nature, especially because my family members are so busy with their lives. . I need to prioritize maintaining and deepening the connection I have with my family, as though the deepest love and support I have ever experienced, that is it transient.

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