The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be. – Anne Frank
As I write this, the Eastern states are shivering in below-zero temperatures while we bask in unseasonably warm winter temperatures. Although the drought and climate change are a huge concern, we are also fortunate to be able to enjoy our amazing outdoors throughout the year.
As a long-time editor and writer, my email inbox annually receives literally thousands of messages from various PR firms a year. Recently, research from the University of Derby in the United Kingdom revealed the top ten themes people consider to be good in nature:
- Sensations of nature
- Growth and temporal changes
- Wildlife being active in their habitat
- Specific aspects of nature
- Beauty or wonder of nature
- Effect of weather
- Colors of nature
- Reflections on the weather
- Wildlife interacting
- Good feelings from nature
“The aim of the research is to provide direction for those seeking to frame engaging conservation messages, plan urban spaces and connect people with nearby nature,” said the news release.
We in the green industry are in a state of flux. While the drought and environmental awareness makes water and chemical usage a potential black mark, we are also poised to place ourselves as stewards of an environment that can create good health and well being.
More and more research is pointing to the fact that people need the outdoors. People need to breathe clean air and enjoy the sensations that warm sunshine, colorful flowers, green shoots and cooling shade create.
One of the major challenges facing our profession is the lack of bright young newcomers. There are many theories as to why this might be the case. Our industry is generally perceived as a backbreaking, low-paying career choice.
We need to emphasize our connection with the great outdoors and the benefits we offer. In this age of “text neck” (causing by bending over and looking at a smart phone for hours a day), we need to emphasize the mental and physical health benefits that looking up and walking around outside offer.
Life goes in cycles and after this cycle of immersion in technology, we are poised to go “back to nature.” As we work in an industry that allies, enhances and cajoles Mother Nature, let’s share our expertise and love of the great outdoors to recruit not only more customers, but also young people who will be the future of our profession.
PS To read the paper ‘One thousand good things in nature: aspects of nearby nature associated with improved connection to nature’ go to: www.whpress.co.uk/EV/papers/Richardson.pdf. The research has emerged from Dr. Miles Richardson’s writing and his recently launched book titled ‘A Blackbird’s Year’, which has a similar theme – finding wilderness in simple places close to home. It is available everywhere through online booksellers.