“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Long ago, our ancestors saw themselves as an important part of nature, cooperating with nature and protecting it. However, this changed dramatically with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution some 300 years ago. Technology began to develop more and more and our species tried to control and even dominate nature. Humanity began to emerge as a species that no longer saw itself as an integral part of nature, but rather lived above and beyond nature and worse, saw nature as a commodity to be sold and exploited. This had disastrous consequences in many cases, such as pollution, extinction, depletion of natural resources and biodiversity.
So the beginning of the industrial revolution was not without consequences. The natural environment of humans and animals began to disappear more and more. The scientist Richard Louv discovered that a lack of nature around us, can lead to a so-called natural-deficit disorder, which is a collective term for physiological and psychological problems. Lack of our natural environment, according to Louv, would lead to anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or even intensify these symptoms (Louv, 2011). Currently, there is even a name for the deep-seated psychological stress caused by the change of the original landscape, being Solastalgia (Albrecht et al., 2007). In short, the change in our natural environment leads to serious problems.
Even though our environment has changed so much and man seems to have distanced himself from nature, you do notice that nature still has a role to play in our lives. Because why do we have paintings of flowers and trees, why do you buy flowers for your partner, do you go for walks in the park, do you like a house with a garden or even a balcony with plants, why do you go on vacation to the countryside, the mountains or the beach? Right, through nature (van den Berg, 2005; Williams, 2018). Even if we want to, we cannot separate nature from humans and humans from nature. For our health and well-being, it is now more important than ever to regain respect for nature and engage in positive, reciprocal interaction with it, because if we treat nature well, nature will treat us well. Nature can do very well without us, only we cannot do without nature. We must reacquaint ourselves with the true value of nature and reacquaint ourselves with its wonders.
Nature has surrounded us since the beginning of mankind. It provides us with safety, food, shelter from the elements, and even medicine. Nature is a guide, a teacher, a chemist, an artist and a listening ear. Just recently, a couple of scientists from Japan emphasized the importance of nature in relation to our health. They confirmed that a walk in the forest has several healthy effects on your body (Li, 2018). That is why it is so important to bring nature back into our lives. So take a walk in the park, buy a house with a garden or decorate your balcony with plants, go on vacation to the countryside and just enjoy what nature has to offer in your food, your body and in your life. Let’s Flourish!
- Albrecht, G., Sartore, G.-M., Higginbotham, N., Freeman, S., Kelly, B., Stain, H., Pollard, G. (2007). Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change. Australas Psychiatry, 95-98.
- Li, Q. (2018). Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing. London: Penguin Books.
- Louv, R. (2011). The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
- van den Berg, A. E. (2005). Health Benefits of Nature. In A. E. van den Berg, Health Impacts of Healing Environments (pp. 23-33). Groningen: Foundation 200 years University Hospital Groningen.
- Williams, F. (2018). The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. New York City: W. W. Norton & Company.