"Let's go out into nature. Let's relax, have fun, get out of the city, escape the concrete jungle."
That's a phrase we've all said not only once in our lives. I'm guilty, too.
However, if you think about it, it's not possible to GO TO nature. Because you're already there.
We are an integral part of nature.
Today I'm sharing why I think nature is not a place to go to. I'm curious to know: would you agree?
Hey you! Welcome back to the Science of Travel Blog. And if you’re new, welcome! I’m Daniela and I’m so happy you found your way here! On this blog I write about Earth and the geology of landscapes and travel destinations.
Today is going to be short and sharp and will leave you pensive, at least I hope so.
I want to share a few thoughts with you that I scribbled down on my phone recently, when I had some sort of an epiphany. But I know that I’m not the only one who feels like this. I’ve received lovely reactions from friends and followers when I shared these thoughts on Instagram a few weeks ago. And funnily enough, when I was on a field trip with uni last week, I had a wonderful talk with a fellow student who came to the exact same conclusion as me.
I’ve been thinking about how we use the word “nature” and what we associate with “nature”. Heads up: what I’m about to say might cause some people to think: that’s nonsense, that’s too esoteric for me, what the hell is she talking about, a scientist, or soon-to-be, shouldn’t she be analyzing data, plotting graphs and being guided by reason rather than heart? Where is the proof? Is there a study to proof all this?
What follows is my opinion. The way that I see and feel and perceive the world. I’m a deep person, and I like to philosophize. I like to connect nature, science and philosophy. If the following resonates with you, that’s wonderful, and I’m truly delighted. If it doesn’t resonate, you’re not going to like anything else that I create for the world to consume and we’re simply not meant to be.
BUT enough rambling, let’s start with this bold statement:
Nature is not a place to go to.
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Nature is not a place to go to.
Nature is everywhere. Remember the last time you said you love being out in nature? I surely remember. I've said it multiple times in my life.
But it's a strange thing to say, because it implies that nature is something we can visit.
As if it wasn't everywhere.
But nature is not a place to visit.
Nature is everywhere.
I guess we have to "go to" nature, because we built cities like walls that separate us from what we perceive nature to be.
Fields, forests, greenery, flowers, rivers, lakes, mountains, the ocean.
But nature is not separate from us.
We are nature.
Everything about us screams nature.
The molecules that make up our bodies. Nature.
The oxygen we breathe. Nature.
The rocks and wood we use to build all our buildings and houses. Nature.
The materials all your belongings are made of. Chemical elements. Nature. Most of the elements were made an unimaginable long time ago in other solar systems.
Truly everything is nature.
We need to stop making us small.
Time and time again I hear people say: "Earth doesn't need us. She's better off without us."
Such words create separation - again. Distance.
"Humans only destroy, but don't heal" people say.
I couldn't disagree more. Humans are so capable. So intelligent. I’m so proud of us.
We can heal and mend and fix and repair.
If we listen. If we start to finally see ourselves as part of nature.
If we make decisions based on this fact, that nature is everywhere, it's transcendent, then we can move forward into a future that is sustainable and worth living. For you, for your friends, for your family, children and grand-children and future generations.
Because the world doesn’t end with you. When you’re gone, the world keeps spinning. Your life is finite. After you, billion more people will be born and live on Earth.
Perhaps you've thought about this too already. Perhaps these thoughts are new to you.
In any way, I hope the next time you feel alone, fearful, hopeless, desparate, ignorant or arrogant.
Remember: You're part of something very big. You're part of nature. You always will be. There is no need to feel secluded. You’re part of the collective. And we, the other humans, your fellow humans, need you to see yourself as part of our earthly community. We need you to care, to contribute.
Base your decisions on this knowledge. Nature is everywhere. If everybody on this planet made decisions with the best intentions for Earth and nature, we wouldn’t be facing the challenges we are facing.
But for that, we’d have to understand that nothing really is more important than nature and a (to us) healthy planet.
We haven't terraformed Mars yet. And we're not great at traveling through space yet. Earth is all we have right now. And we should treat her with great respect, care and love.
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Be kind and love nature, 🌱
About the author
Daniela is convinced that by gaining deep insights into planet Earth and travel destinations you’ll create meaningful, grounding and memorable life and travel experiences. She explains fundamental geological processes that form and shape landscapes and combines these insights with philosophical and philanthropical views in her online courses, articles, and newsletter. She holds two bachelor's degrees in geosciences (B.Sc.) and business administration with tourism (B.A.). She is the owner and founder of EarthyMe, EarthyUniversity and the Science of Travel blog and the STORIES OF EARTH newsletter.
Image credit: Finland, Daniela Dägele