What I See: Connecting with Nature
By: Josh O'Shea, Young Adult Librarian
We all live in ecosystems. Each ecosystem has diverse parts that can be similar and dissimilar to others. Together they create an environment that is interconnected and inter-affective. When we realize how these connections influence our individual activities, we’re prompted to want the best relationship within our environment as possible. There are two main partnerships the library values: community and nature.
The community are the families, businesses, schools, and various groups that use library services. We have book clubs, college prep series, and story time that represent and include many individuals, mixing and matching the groups. These experiences provide introduction, education, and entertainment. They also bring us closer to our own groups, as well as meet new people. We should always want to find ways to break out of our comfort zones and learn to give.
I love to walk in nature. There’s some psychological benefit: I feel good when I’m surrounded by green, growing things. The colors make me smile; the nature sounds are relaxing—even if it’s a squirrel scolding me for coming too close. There’s a technique called ecotherapy that helps us harmonize with the earth; this can improve our mental health. Some studies show that people who live near, and spend time in, green spaces have higher concentration ability. One source states, “The addition of flowers and plants to a workplace can positively affect creativity, productivity, and flexible problem solving, while the presence of animals may reduce aggression and agitation among children and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.” (For more information, click here: Ecotherapy/Nature Therapy).
Nature is what we are, even if we often think nature means “not human.” We’re all connected to the earth in that we eat what comes from it, we frolic in its green spaces, we drink its water. We’re connected in that what we put in the trash can goes to landfills, and the gases we emit pollute the air. This means we have the power to partner with nature as well. We can cherish nature by recycling, removing waste from green spaces, and practicing responsible consumption. When we are environmentally astute, we make the world a better place to support ourselves and nonhuman life.
Just as we’re all connected to the earth, we’re all connected to each other. This increases the need for us to be reflective about our actions and do good things that may not be “necessary.” When we go beyond our daily routines to reach out to other people, we reach another level of mindfulness, and we mature. When we offer our time or services to a cause, our hearts grow a little bigger. When we beautify the earth, we help our community thrive a little more.Tags: mindfulness, nature, self-reflection, teens