As we explored in the first part of our series on ecological consciousness and awareness, one of the key aspects of developing and fostering ecological consciousness is the ability to develop greater awareness and sensitivity to nature. By becoming more attuned to the natural world, we are better placed to observe our impact upon it and be encouraged to modify our behaviour and attitudes. In so doing, we can develop better habits and make lifestyle changes which benefit the natural world, as well as ourselves. This week, we consider what actions we can take in our daily lives to become more ecologically conscious and aware.
Developing Greater Awareness and Sensitivity to Nature
There are many ways in which we can become more aware of Nature and in tune with it. In the first instance, simply spending some time outdoors in the natural world itself can be a fantastic first step. Make it part of your regular practice to spend a few minutes outdoors, be that in your garden, local park or local nature reserve.
During the course of the last year, we have all spent more time in our local outdoor areas. But rather than simply walking through them, take the opportunity to really engage with nature on your next walk. Take the time to pause and listen to the sounds. Allow yourself to be still and observe the natural environment and to open your awareness and senses to Nature. In so doing, you will become more familiar and attuned to it. Doing this regularly, even if just for a few minutes each day will, over time, enable you to develop a greater sensitivity to all the different aspects of the natural world around you.
Similarly, engaging in some embodied and meditative practices outdoors can be very beneficial. You can spend some time doing meditation outside and truly allowing yourself to become open to all that Nature has to offer you. Engaging in some mindful breathing practices can also be very beneficial and allow you to connect more deeply with the environment all around you. You can also engage in more embodied practices, such as yoga, tai chi, or in Felt Thinking.
By engaging in such practices, you have the opportunity to reconnect with the natural world and to become more aware of your presence and connection with it. Over time, such practices will enable you to ‘listen’ more closely to the natural world around you and to learn how to develop a dialogue with Nature. Exercising this awareness will be mutually beneficial; supporting your own health and wellbeing, whilst allowing you to develop a greater appreciation for the natural world and the ways in which you can provide support for it in return.
Helping Educate Others
Every small act and change by each individual counts towards making a bigger global impact which will benefit us all. Yet, one of the simplest ways in which we can become more ecologically conscious is to help educate others, especially the next generation. Share your knowledge with others and use it to help educate and inspire them.
Take your children on walks with you and involved them in your embodied practices and active listening whilst outdoors. Encourage children to spend time exploring the natural world and learning to appreciate all that it has to offer. This will help them to develop a deep appreciation of Nature from early on and promote better habits as they grow up. By sharing your knowledge and understanding, you can help to empower others to make good choices as well.
Living A More Sustainable Lifestyle
Being ecologically conscious and aware also means making adjustments to our lifestyles and daily choices. If we are to live in greater harmony with nature, then it becomes imperative that we begin to live in a more sustainable manner.
There are many different approaches you can take. You can begin by eating more sustainably. For example, reducing your meat consumption, only eating fish which has been responsibly sourced, buying local produce and even trying to grow your own food.
Another important lifestyle change is attempting to reduce waste. Whether you decide to reduce your use of plastic or reduce your household food waste, every act counts. Consider too ways in which you can reduce energy consumption within your home, by turning off and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use.
Reducing your carbon footprint is also important. Consider different options of travel and, where possible, opt for the greenest one. Try to reduce your driving and instead, aim to walk or cycle. Consider the carbon footprint of the items you buy as well, and try to swap your shopping practices so that you are buying more things locally or which use only minimal or eco-friendly packaging.
If you’re looking for a bigger commitment or lifestyle change, consider making your home more sustainable. For example, getting better home insulation to reduce energy consumption, or using eco-friendly materials for any home renovation projects.
Choosing to become more ecologically conscious and aware is already an active first step. This week, we invite you to join us in taking a walk outside in Nature. You may choose to repeat the experience with your family as well.
Choose a natural location which you feel connected to and which you would like to explore more meaningfully, in a deeper way. Begin by going for a gentle walk and taking the time to really open your auditory awareness to all the sounds in that space. Take deep breaths as you walk, allowing yourself to become attuned to the rhythms of the natural environment. Give yourself permission to pause and simply observe things which capture your attention.
You may also decide to go on a Walk To Wellbeing, if you would like to try engaging more deeply with nature using the Felt Thinking methodology.
At the end of your walk, take a moment to simply reflect on your experience and the natural world all around you. You can also use the opportunity to inspire some creativity, be that in the form of writing, art, music or movement.