Dr. Andrew Weil argues convincingly1 that we, as a nation, are suffering the ill effects resulting from a disconnection from nature. Apparently, there are a wide range of behavioral problems in children, but also emotional and physical ailments in adults, who don’t spend enough time outdoors. The scientific evidence is showing that there are real benefits to living close to nature. These range from getting enough vitamin D to eye health to regular sleep patterns. In addition, there are emotional and spiritual benefits to spending time outdoors enjoying nature’s beauty.
The message that we take from this is two-fold. Not only is it important for individuals and families to connect with nature, it is a priority to protect it. Given the growing body of knowledge that recognizes the emotional and physical benefits of spending time outdoors, we must preserve and nurture our environment for ourselves and future generations.
So, not only should we get out and walk, hike, bike and enjoy the sun, fresh air and cool streams for own well-being, but we should also look to our own daily habits and routines to lessen our negative impacts on our natural environment. Our kids, their health and the environment will all benefit.
1“Don’t Let Chaos Get You Down”, Dr. Andrew Weil, Newsweek, November 7 & 14, 2011, Page 9.