When I was covering an Uxbridge council meeting in late March, I heard a presentation from local youth Gwyn Foster who had attended Ontario Nature’s Youth Summit in 2016. One of the things she touched on was the prevalence of what is known as nature deficit disorder in Ontario.
Nature deficit disorder is the theory that people are spending less time outside, which leads to a whole host of behavioral issues and a lack of appreciation of nature. Ms. Foster told Councillors “when people are excited about nature, they want to save it and they want to conserve it.”
Simply put, we as human beings have a connection to nature and when we are pulled away from nature for a long period it can have detrimental effects on us.
Personally, I have always felt a sense of calm when I have gone and sat down in my backyard in the spring or summer, or have taken a tour through a forest.
Sometimes, I think people tend to forget the beauty of the nature that is around them everyday. Life can be so fast at times that, as the old saying goes, we forget to “stop and smell the roses.” Recently, on one of my days off from work, I decided to take a walk down a few of my streets in Janetville and I think that reminded me there is a lot of beautiful scenery close by.
The recent Earth day cleanup activities, held last week, are a great example of something that can encourage people to really take care of and appreciate the environment around them.
So what I am encouraging people to do, when it is warm outside, is to turn off the television sets, put down their phones and go outside. You could just go outside and watch the birds, take a walk through the trails in Uxbridge or Scugog, or go visit one of your town’s parks. One of my family’s annual summer traditions is feeding the birds at Lynde Shores Conservation Area in Whitby. For teachers, if your school has an outdoor classroom, I encourage you to get your students out to that as much as you can.
So get outside whenever you can, because it can help you de-stress. It also helps remind us of the beauty around us, and, as Ms. Foster said, if kids spend a good amount of time around nature it can encourage them to want to save it.