Most of us live box to box. We go from our homes to our cars to our jobs and back to our cars. We run our errands, rushing by each other, popping in and out of boxy, little buildings, then hop back in to our cars eager to box ourselves back up in our homes.
How often do we truly live outside “the box,” breathe unprocessed air, touch the earth, have actual human contact with others outside our own boxes? Humans need nature and each other. Studies* link contact with nature with the overall well-being of humans, even in the prevention and treatment of social and behavioral health problems. That’s another argument in favor of green living, wouldn’t you say?
“The connection between natural landscapes and human health provides an important avenue to support land conservation and human health.” ~R. Hine, childrenandnature.org
However, there’s an obvious disconnect. “In the last few hundred years, there has been an extraordinary disengagement of humans from the natural environment.” ~Maller, et al., HPI Oxford Journal
The majority of us go out of our way to avoid nature — spinning and rowing and jogging in gyms (even in good weather). And how often do we drive round and round parking lots in our portable boxes, looking for the spot closest to the door, passing up empty ones that would require us to walk for two minutes? How much gas do you suppose we waste in a year — and the pollution we create — going out of our way to avoid walking?
Maybe if we walked more, rode bikes, chose to be active outside more we wouldn’t have to remind ourselves not to deplete the Earth’s resources. Wouldn’t we feel more connected to the Earth if we stopped shutting ourselves off from it? And perhaps that’s an effective strategy for environmental change for our children’s generation: putting them back in touch with their natural habitat.
2015 is a great time to start going outside more — fit it in any way you can until it becomes more of a habit for you and your family. Park in the open spaces farther from the store; bundle up and take a family walk before or after dinner; take the stairs whenever possible (makes for a nice, firm gluteus maximus!); unplug the kids and play in the snow, sun, whatever nature has for you! Prioritize your outside time and it will become a part of your lifestyle.
Living outside the box now just might positively impact the world outside our grandchildren’s boxes, and it will surely improve our day-to-day lives in the here and now. What have we got to lose but stress and a few pounds?