What an amazing thing it is!
Considering the harshness of space and the chances stacked against us1, it’s no small miracle that after 13.7 billion years we’re here at all; multicellular, thinking, feeling, walking, breathing, reflective human beings – inextricably linked to the cosmos2, alive on a planet suspended in space3.
It’s an easy thing to forget.
Absorbed in our busy modern culture, we spend more and more time indoors4, bound to screens5, schedules and responsibilities6, all the while becoming increasingly disconnected from ourselves, one another7 and the negative impact we’re having on the natural world around us8.
Having spent many years working with people in some of the wildest places on Earth, we’ve come to realise that taking time in and remembering our inherent connection to the natural world is immeasurably beneficial9.
We’re not alone in this realisation; in the western world “wild” is on trend10, and for good reason.
The research shows that when we do spend time outdoors11, countless benefits follow12, including improved health and wellbeing13, creativity13, and an increased sense of purpose and perspective14.
“In the course of the millennia, we have succeeded not only in conquering the wild nature all around us, but in subduing our own wildness.”
– Carl Jung, psychiatrist
“Improving human-nature relationships through personal outdoor experiences is not only possible, it’s profoundly rewarding.”
The natural world can also be highly conducive to eliciting experiences of awe and wonder;15 that amazing human capacity to marvel at the beauty and mystery of the world.
Studies show that having experiences of it not only increases people’s propensity for generosity and kindness16, but also helps us see ‘the bigger picture’ more clearly; shifting the focus from ourselves to the larger whole, a movement from ‘me’ to ‘we’17.
Poignantly at this moment in our history,18 in an age of digital saturation, social disconnection, “wonder deficit” and ecological crisis; rekindling human-nature relationships not only benefits us human beings, but also the health of the ecosystem as a whole19. The more we invest in nurturing our individual connections to nature, the increased awareness we have of our interrelatedness with it, and the renewed sense of care and responsibility we have towards its wellbeing.20
“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
– David Attenborough
At it’s heart, Living Alive is part of an emerging global movement of individuals and organisations21; changemakers22, artists23, neuroscientists, activists, charities,24 educators, philosophers25, journalists, healthcare professionals, social entrepreneurs, businesses26 and even astronauts27. Each in our own way we’re all working towards redressing a more balanced relationship with ourselves, one another and the Earth.
We believe that creating opportunities for people to experience awe, wonder and a sense of belonging in wild places, provides one of the most direct and effective solutions to positive change for people & planet.
“There is a great opportunity here. Ecology, rewilding, nature connection – call it what you will. It is the most radical, subversive and beautiful chance.”
“We see global warming not as an inevitability, but as an invitation to build, innovate and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is a human agenda.”
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Earth lies within the Circumstellar Habitable Zone or ‘Goldilocks Zone‘, referring to the unique combination of specific conditions which allow complex multi-cellular life to evolve.|
|3.||↑||The Pale Blue Dot is an image taken, at Carl Sagan’s suggestion, by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometres (4 billion miles) away when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the centre of scattered light rays, Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent less than 1 pixel in size.|
|4.||↑||Article: The Next Frontier: The Great Indoors|
|5.||↑||Article: Have smartphones destroyed a generation? Article: Hooked on our smartphones|
|6.||↑||Article: How busyness effects your brain and health|
|7.||↑||Article: The Loneliness Epidemic – We’re more connected than ever before, but are we feeling more alone?|
|8.||↑||Report: 2020 The climate turning point|
|9.||↑||“In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he (or she!) seeks.” – John Muir|
|10.||↑||Article: The Wild is in your Heart – Dan Crockett for the Huffington Post|
|11.||↑||Article: Nature Boosts your Health in a Surprising Number of Ways|
|12.||↑||Research paper: Vitalizing Effects of being outdoors and in nature|
|13.||↑||Paper: Creativity in the wild: Improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings|
|14.||↑||Article: The Scientific Power of Nature|
|15.||↑||Article: All About Awe|
|16.||↑||Article: Why do we feel Awe? Article: How marvelling at the wonders of the planet can feed our souls|
|17.||↑||Research Paper: Awe, the Small Self & Prosocial Behaviour|
|18.||↑||There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch. (The Guardian) also see Article: Living in the Anthropocene, a new Global Ethos|
|19.||↑||WWF report, 2009: Natural Change: psychology and sustainability|
|20.||↑||WWF report, 2011: The Natural Change Project: Catalysing leadership for sustainability|
|21.||↑||“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.” – Paul Hawken|
|22.||↑||See: The Planetary Collective|
|23.||↑||Article: Environmental Art is on the Rise – The Guardian|
|24.||↑||See for example, the work of PIRC – The Public Interest Research Centre on Framing Nature|
|25.||↑||See the work of Joanna Macy on The Great Turning|
|26.||↑||See business communities like One Percent for the Planet|
|27.||↑||Video: Nasa Astronaut Ron Garan on the Orbital Perspective|