07 Mar 3 Movements To Keep You More Connected with Nature
When we spend eight hours a day glued to our screens something has got to give, and unfortunately for us evidence shows it’s the time we spend outside in green spaces. But one silver lining of all those pandemic-induced lockdowns is that they’ve made us really appreciate all our green spaces: research shows 65 per cent of people reported that spending time outdoors benefitted their mental health more during lockdown than before.
Why ‘greyification’ matters
As one in eight Brits have no access to a garden, it’s essential that we all have access to nature and fight back against an increasing ’grey-ification’ of our environment. Nature contact has been said to be “as vital to our wellbeing as regular exercise and a healthy diet”, and we know that the greenest neighbourhoods see 12% less premature deaths than the greyest.
Mental and physical health benefits aside, it’s vital of course that we protect these green spaces where possible to aid in the fight against the climate crisis.
Here are three movements focused on increasing the time we spend connected to nature.
1000 Hours Outside
The movement 1000 Hours Outside is all about encouraging children to keep connected with nature. Their specific mission is to ‘match’ nature time with the time kids spend on screens. They argue that if kids can be on screens for 1200 hours a year on average, then some of that time can be switched towards an activity that produces a more productive and healthy outcome – playing outside in a green sapce.
They produce tracker sheets and activity guides to encourage families to dedicate time every day to outdoor play, as well as links to research showing the benefits to kids of keeping connected with nature throughout their childhood,
The Dream Green movement is all about re-greening those grey spaces in our neighbourhoods. They call themselves ‘guerilla gardeners’ and make it a priority to help people up and down the country to get outside and improve the aesthetic of their home area whilst also benefitting their mental health.
In case you were worried: it is all perfectly legal if you know what you are doing! They have lots of support available to help you get started. So why not join them and spend some time outside whilst also practicing a hobby and supporting your community?
Nature is a Human Right
Nature is a Human Right is a movement that argues that despite more than 50% of the world’s population now living in urban areas, we have lived in wild environments for 99% of our existence, and therefore humanity is not designed to thrive in all this concrete. As they point out, as we rely more and more on devices, we are becoming less and less mentally healthy and research only proves the importance of nature as we cut it more and more out of our lives.
They support this through promoting re-greening at the highest levels: including petitioning the UN. They also make smaller tangible steps by promoting depaving, rewilding and pocket park creation throughout the UK.
You can get involved with all of these movements to a smaller or greater extent, perhaps by following a tracker sheet, signing a petition or targeting a portion of your local area to work on. However, you choose to interact with them we recommend spending less time on screens and prioritising your time in nature: it is vital for positive mental health.
For more about how you can get off your phone and get back to nature – pick up a copy of our new book: My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open. Available to order here.