There’s something almost counter intuitive about it, but I think that the best chance we have of preserving the beautiful, natural places on our planet is to get people out to truly experience them; to really care about them.
In this age of extreme connectivity, we’re exposed to some of the most amazing places on Earth from the comfort of our beds. We can open Instagram waiting for food at a restaurant, on a conference call, in the drive-thru at Starbucks, anywhere and immediately get a glimpse of the wilds of this world.
When we’re faced with the stark beauty of the Arctic or the remote beaches and rain forests of Asia, its easy to fall in love in a passive way. Nobody wants to see the ice caps melt, nobody wants to see forests bulldozed to grow crops or build homes for our exploding population. Its easy to pretend we care.
Its a passive care, though. Its like seeing a shooting on the news. Its horrifying. Its sad. We feel sympathy, but do we really care? Does it really, deeply affect us? What about when that shooting happens at your neighborhood theater, or in your kids’ school? Suddenly it becomes very, very real. Suddenly you really, really care. Because you’re truly experiencing it.
I think that the best way to preserve our wild places is to get people out in them to really and truly experience them. To make the issue personal and to make people truly care.
If we get away from our phone screens, if we start to let ourselves experience the wonderful things that Mother Earth has to offer, away from the backdrop for perfect selfies, away from the fodder for Instagram likes, if we let ourselves care about the deserts and oceans, the forests and rivers, the prairies and mountains, for the way they make us feel, for how they increase our quality of life, for how much we need them, then suddenly, we will start to care.
And when we start to care, we might do something about it.
So, as we celebrate Earth Day today, I challenge you to make a point to get outside (National Parks are FREE this weekend so go crazy!)
Keep your phone in your pocket, go somewhere where you’re completely surrounded by nature and close your eyes, Take a deep breath, listen to the wind or the waves or the birdsong. Smell the sun in the pines, or the wet soil, or the perfume of wildflowers. Look around you and truly look. Let your heart get full.
The only time my heart is really, truly ever at peace is when I’m letting my soul free in nature. To me, that is worth more than anything. I hope you find your peace in nature and I hope you join me in celebrating our Mother today.