On April 22, more than 1 billion global citizens are expected to unite in celebration of Earth Day. This annual environmental wake-up call aims to raise awareness about the urgent threats our planet faces, but are we still hitting the snooze-button on climate change the other 364 days of the year?
It’s no secret that the Earth needs our help, but the good news is that there’s a surefire way to find the motivation to become committed environmental stewards: reconnect with nature. Research shows that when people feel connected to the natural world, they are more likely have empathy for it and to participate in eco-friendly actions.
This Earth Day, set your family on a pathway towards a greener future with three simple ways to foster a strong connection with the environment:
1. Explore the outdoors
From stress relief to enhanced creativity, the benefits of spending time in nature are endless, but for children, exploring the outdoors has a profoundly meaningful reward. Kids that are exposed to “wild nature” from an early age tend to develop a strong relationship with the environment that extends into adulthood. Awaken your child’s inner environmentalist by going on family walks or hikes, trading the concrete jungle for the wilderness at a family camp, or simply spending time playing in the yard.
2. Earn your green thumb
Gardening is a great way to go green because it can simultaneously improve your connection with nature and your family. Creating a vegetable garden or planting a few daisies helps families learn to work together, and teaches children valuable life lessons while making environmentalism a real concept so that the importance of stewardship is easier understood.
Getting reacquainted with Mother Nature can be a challenge when living in urban areas, so try starting a balcony garden, visiting your local community garden, or bringing nature indoors by growing a houseplant.
3. Practice mindfulness
While mindfulness is commonly known as a method for reducing anxiety, it has also been linked to increased nature connectedness and sustainable behaviour. Through practices like mindful walks or “sitting-spots,” mindfulness aids us in becoming present during outdoor experiences by opening our eyes to the little things in the environment that we often overlook. Wondering how to get your active youngster to slow down for a few minutes? Make mindfulness fun with the help of a few inventive mindfulness games!
Looking for more ways to reconnect with nature? Take a mindful walk through the lush rooftop garden at Cooper Koo YMCA this summer or register your child for one of our exciting programs like Summer Club or Environmental Science Day Camp.