We have much to learn from COVID-19. The virus has brought life to a halt across nations and forced us to re-evaluate how we view our world and the people we share it with. Ask yourself, are you seeing nurses, cashiers, delivery drivers, all the other incredible front-line workers differently now? We’ve been taking much for granted, undervaluing the services, and sometimes the people, we now rely on so heavily.
Here’s something else to ponder – nature appears to be doing quite well without us, thank you very much. We’re all aware of climate change, and that pressing issue hasn’t disappeared just because fewer cars are now on the road each day, but can we truly say that we have an intimate connection to the earth? Now that our time outside is limited, I miss those moments of intimacy with nature, watching a bean seed push up through the soil, seeing the protective bloodroot leaves unfold to reveal its beautiful white flower, listening to a robin sing early in the morning.
During this time of unrest and anxiety many of us are missing our usual connection to nature. With everyone tasked with the job of staying home as much as possible, our walks in the woods have been replaced by laps around the kitchen island. Our observations of bird and plant life have to be made through the living room window. Let’s face it, physically distanced strolls in the neighbourhood just don’t cut it compared to a walk on Riverwood’s trails.
Scientists have found this yearning for a connection to nature is not just COVID-19-related but something that could be rooted in our biology. Biophilia, described as a love of life or living systems, is fueling our urge to get outside and reconnect to the land. This is a good thing. Connecting to the earth supports emotional, physical and spiritual wellness in numerous ways. It can be grounding for those with anxiety, uplifting when living under the weight of depression, and enriching for the spirit when faced with uncertainty and change. Our unconscious selves understand that our inherent physiological tendency to connect to the natural world makes us feel better.
So today on Earth Day, I invite you to revise your perspective of nature in the same way you have the people in your community during this coronavirus-induced lockdown. Look around, see with therapeutic as well as scientific eyes and watch for ways mother earth is modeling courage, hope, resilience, and yes, even fun in these unprecedented times. It’s a great activity for young and old alike and provides a readily available toolbox of support for those facing challenges. Have a look at the photos on our Gardening and Birding pages and see if you think of them in new ways. Then go outside and explore some more, adhering to physical distancing guidelines, of course!
COVID-19 is indeed a tough teacher but revising how we see the world can bring about positive change. Revision literally means “to see again,” and being able to see again comes with the opportunity to see things for the better. From the confines of our homes we’ve come to value connection to our families, colleagues, our neighbours, and the natural world beyond our front door. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The lessons from this virus are there; the choice is ours to learn them.
We rely on donations to keep our environmental conservation and education work going. Because COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of several of our fundraising events, the need for donors is greater than ever. You can show your care of community and nature today with a gift to The Riverwood Conservancy. Thank you for your support!