With the warmer spring weather now here, I am encouraging everyone to take advantage of it as much as they can, by getting outside and enjoying the nature around them.
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.
A new Major League baseball season is here. However, I don’t feel the same sense of optimism for the Toronto Blue Jays’ chances of winning the World Series as I have in the previous few seasons.
I feel like the Jays are going to take a step back this year.
By the time this edition of the Caped Cearnsader runs, the Blue Jays will have already played their first couple of regular season games. But, because of press time, I will be basing my judgement on the actions they took, or didn’t take, in the off-season as well as their preseason play.
So why do I feel this team is not going to do as well as they did last year? Let’s first look at the roster. The Toronto Blue Jays had another underwhelming off-season and lost yet another big name free agent. In 2015, pitcher David Price left the Jays to sign with the Boston Red Sox. This time around, it was Edwin Encarnacion, who was first on the team in home runs and second on the team in hits. They replaced Encarnacion with Kendrys Morales.
I do have to give Morales credit, he is a good hitter. Last season, he did hit 30 home runs and had 93 RBI. But Edwin had much higher numbers than that in each of his last five seasons with the Jays. Not to mention as well, Edwin does bring more defensive capabilities to the table, having played at first base a bit last season.
The Blue Jays bullpen didn’t seem to get much of an upgrade, with the only notable signing in that position being J.P. Howell.
Conversely, the teams in the same division as the Jays have improved. The Yankees signed Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman, the Red Sox signed Mitch Moreland and the Tampa Bay Rays made a bunch of signings, including Colby Rasmus.
The Blue Jays also did not have a great preseason, finishing with a record of 12 wins and 18 losses, the worst Grapefruit League record in the American League.
To put this in perspective, last season the Jays’ record in spring training was 17-8, and in 2015 their spring training record was 19-13. Both of those years, the Jays were in the top three in the Grapefruit League.
I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think the Blue Jays will enjoy as much success this year as they have in the past few years.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy