Becoming connected with nature is more than just spending time outdoors, climbing trees and rolling through the mud. Although, that is a great first step not to mention loads of fun! Connection to nature can go deeper. It can spread all the way into your house, at your kitchen table, onto your shopping lists and into your rubbish bins. It takes time to evolve wholeheartedly as it slowly becomes part of who you are, not just something you do.
By taking that first step to reconnect, you begin to appreciate the natural world. It is from here that your connection can become more, it can go deeper, grow beyond and, you can make a difference.
How can we make a difference and promote a deeper organic connection to nature?
- Start a plan of action to share nature with others, get them outdoors too. Invite them for bush walks, go on a picnic, even google earth your local community to find hidden pockets of nature.
- Research what’s happening in your local community, attend local events, join a Bush Care group, or a Community Environment Network Group.
- If you’re not feeling very social that’s ok, you can still make a difference in your own home by making a few changes to your routine. Reflect on your day to day habits and embed sustainability into your household, the perfect place to explore sustainable practice.
Do your current habits portray how much you really appreciate and care for the world we live in? The world that we share with others and the future generations to come. As far as I know NASA has not discovered a spare Earth hidden in a cupboard in a galaxy far far away, so we need to protect and preserve the one we have or tomorrow will never come.
As we drove down our street the other day, my 6 year old daughter asked me why the red rubbish bins on our street were smaller than the yellow recycling ones. Being the Early Childhood Teacher that I am, rather than providing a direct answer, I prompted her to think critically about her query to see what she could come up with.
“Maybe it’s because people have to recycle more and don’t have too much rubbish because it’s rubbish and you can’t recycle it. Like we recycle everything and we don’t buy stuff like packages. Our stuff goes in the recycling and sometimes I use it to make stuff too, like for art. And Mummy we do the compost too so our family only needs a little red bin, so that’s good.”
I had to chuckle at her next comment as we continued to drive down the street….
“Mummy, look everyone’s red bins are really full. I think they have too much stuff”
I felt proud of her analogy and prouder to tell her that our family only fills up half of the red bin each week (I only discovered this last week when I went to bring my bin in only to discover the garbage collectors were apparently on strike) This realisation was comforting as we mindfully buy minimum packaging, recycle, reuse and compost too, so it was nice to see the positive impact our household has on minimising landfill. I watched as her face unfolded from serious to a smirk as she exclaimed, “We are good at rubbish, aren’t we!”
Well I am not sure ‘being good at rubbish’ earns you any sort of credit, but it certainly got me thinking. I reflected on my own values, practices and growth and noted how overtime I have changed, emerged and adjusted my skills, practices and outlook on life. I feel more connected to the natural world. I feel like I am making a difference, and if anything it feels empowering to notice the change within myself and the effect you can have on others, especially your own children or children in your care.
A few years ago, overwhelmed and frustrated by mass production, I began a mission to try and buy mainly from local businesses. My new journey led me to discover local organic produce, simple whole food ingredients and quality handmade items from markets. I also became a bit of an army general when it came to reducing waste and reusing in our household, just ask my partner he loves my smelly compost pile.
Admittedly I began this journey due to health reasons (I’m Coeliac and my own children become crazy, monstrous versions of themselves when they eat sugar laden, preservative food). With self-research, I built on my knowledge of healthy cooking and sustainable practices. I have always been a bit of a self proclaimed ‘health nut’ but with a few tweaks and new ideas, I managed to simplify, think ahead and plan effectively. Naturally my whole family are part of the journey, although not always willing participants to share their load in taking out the compost, they are always ready to share the values and learn about the purpose behind my actions. Values and actions that they will in turn be able to share with others throughout their life. Little Eco Footprints is a great blog to follow for sustainable ideas and how to live better with less. It is a journey I am still on, learning new ideas and building on practices every day. Did you know it’s so easy to make your own cleaning sprays, completely chemical free, environmentally friendly and they smell delicious!
Along with my #foodie overhaul, my new journey grew organically and led me out of the kitchen and into every other room of my house. I watched as my children’s belongings grew overtime with gifts. Although we are so grateful for those that gift to our children, possessions quickly overtook the storage space we had. I knew there had to be a better way, a more ethical, sustainable and thoughtful practice to explore. I tried, ‘One gift per child’ strategy, ‘Local & Handmade Christmases’, ‘Donating to others in need’, ‘Experiences not objects’ and even a, ‘No toys please’ rule. While some of these approaches were more successful than others, each of my moments of advocacy planted the seed of awareness, they made people think. As we know, it is awareness that we need to create the change that we desire. As a family we aim to be more sustainable in our own gift giving, even gift wrapping. Did you know fabric squares, newspaper comics and who gives a crap toilet paper packaging make excellent sustainable gift wrap?
Whether it’s reconnecting with neighbours to share garden produce, buying from local businesses to support your own community, visiting markets to purchase handmade gifts and delicious homemade goodies or becoming the Christmas Grinch and requesting one present per child from others, you can be a part of the change. You can be part of something bigger, connecting people not only to each other but supporting them to make sustainable choices and reducing the impact we have on our environment and wonderful world.
Our children are living in the world we, as adults have created for them. Many are over stimulated, under nourished and disconnected to the impact we have on the natural world. As human beings, we are a part of the natural world, so lets really become a part of it. Get active and involved, get children involved! Let them become responsible for nurturing and caring for produce gardens, teach them to cook from scratch, role model recycling, reusing and reducing waste. Become mindful of your actions and practice. Our actions and guidance now will influence the children not only of today but the children of tomorrow too.
If you are keen to jump aboard local businesses and are on the Central Coast, these are some of the local suppliers that I use. The best thing about them? (apart from their delicious produce of course), is that they ALL do home delivery! See, convenience doesn’t have to come in a pre-packaged, sugar laden, excess salt, preservative packed treat! #winning
Toilet paper, tissues & paper towel (also available through Nurtured Earth)
Other ideas to create change in your own home…
- Start a compost
- Grow your own herbs or vegetables
- Use a keep cup for your take-away coffees
- Pack a waste free lunchbox for school
- Bake your own delicious treats
- Reuse jars, containers and bottles
- Participate in Plastic Free July
- Be creative with left overs!
Remember any change no matter how small will make a difference. Together we’ve got this, tomorrow will be safe. Don’t forget to share your journey with us too.