Environmental wellness is part of our evolution.
If you happened to be born a thousand years ago, there would of course be many things different from your life today. Perhaps one of the biggest would be the amount of time spent outdoors in the natural world.
Humans evolved to live in nature, and our surroundings are part of our environmental wellness. The entire make-up and function of our bodies allows us to survive and thrive as part of the environment around us. And we have done so for thousands of years.
Moving into modern times we are now experiencing the greatest period of disconnect from the natural world than at any point in history.
We spend the vast majority of our time indoors. Many of us are completely unfamiliar with the terrain, plants, and animal life that share the space around us. Our habits and lifestyle are not only disconnected from the natural world but also actively harm it.
We spend the vast majority of our time indoors.
A World Without Wellness
It is common knowledge that environmental degradation is creating a state of crisis for our world. From depletion of the soil to pollution of air and water, the effects of humanity’s disregard for environmental responsibility are far-reaching and hugely concerning. (1)
Much could be said on this topic, but when it comes to wellness we must first look at our relationship with the natural world.
How Do We View Our Place in the World?
Lack of care for the world and people around us not only damages the environment but also harms our spirit. A critical part of being a healthy human is respecting the world around us and our place in it.
When we fail to do so we are stunting an essential part of our well-being.
The human ego tells us that we stand apart from nature and are able to treat it however we want. As if the world is our domain and we rule over it.
In reality, we are nature. We are just one piece of an intricate ecosystem where our actions have consequences for the whole, intended or not. In reality, we do not stand apart from nature or over it – we are deeply intertwined with it.
Caring for Our Environment Is Caring for Ourselves
How we interact with our environment is part of our own state of wellness. Therefore, ignoring or harming the environment is actually harming ourselves.
Connecting with nature increases happiness, improves physical health, and strengthens social connections. (2) It also invests us in something greater than ourselves and can expand our perspective on life to make us more attentive, mindful and compassionate.
The environment doesn’t just refer to the world around us – it is us. Subsequently, how we treat the environment is a reflection of how we treat ourselves and others.
To be people who experience the full meaning of wellness, we have to actively work to care for the world and extend what it means to be well to include everything around us.