Do you think that in this age of intense technolgy makind has lost its touch with nature? If so, is that a bad thing? Is it important as humans to have some sort of connection with nature? I mean, if we don't really need a connection why have one?
I think that it is important for us to have a connection with nature. Nature is a great place to relax and enjoy the peacefulness that it has to offer. Technology today can be very nerve racking. Cell phones, computers, etc. It can get very tiring. Having a connection with nature is a good way to get away from all that, temporarily anyway.
For the most part, yes, and not just nature in the sense of national parks and wildlife, but in the sense of the outdoors at all. We are so "plugged in" electronically as a society that we forget even the simple things, such as walking in the park, planting gardens or trees, or just enjoying the natural world in its most basic sense.
I don't know about others but for me nature is one place I can really relax. We try to vacation at least once a summer in the Smoky Mountains and I can feel the tension leave my body the closer we get to the mountains.
One or two years ago, a woman wrote an essay for the "My Turn" page of Newsweek; her essay was entitled, "In Defense of Sidewalks." In this essay the author remarked how children nowadays have no perspective of their neighborhood because they travel from point to point via the back seat of their parents SUVs. If they do look out the window of the vehicle, the visions they see are fleeting and without dimensional markers. But, when she was a child, the author notes, she walked along the sidewalks of her block and the next ones. She knew where the tree limbs made the sidewalk bulge, she knew that in the afternoon, Mrs. ---would be working on her border plants, and Mr.---would be examining his lawn. She would stop and talk briefly with them as they asked what happened in school, etc. She "knew" where the sky was in relation to the big oak trees; she knew how far it was to ----, she delighted in the burgeoning daffodils in the spring and the leaves from the larger, older trees in the fall. She had a sense of being grounded on this earth and knew her place in it. The colors of Nature delight and refresh the soul; without being in Nature one cannot feel the contentment that comes from hearing the cardinals and other birds, the sense of belonging to this earth that one has when one is actually in it--the relaxation of the soul. There is no substitute for Nature, and, as Thoreau wrote, we all must walk "deliberately" in it or we will lose ourselves to triviality.
A fourteen year old boy once said that he loves hunting season more for the opportunity to sit in the tree stand for hours waiting to spot a deer. While he waits, he listens to the birds, he looks all around, he measures the trees--he relaxes in a way that he cannot anywhere else. He is never disappointed if he does not spot a deer, for he returns home relaxed and refreshed. After all, there is logic behind the expression "Mother Nature," for Nature nourishes the mind, the heart, the soul.
In the sense of physical activity for children, I do think that nature might be essential. The world, but mainly America, has become more of an indoor society, where children watch TV, surf the Internet, text-message friends, or play video games. While these elements are not evil, a connection to nature and the outdoors is missing, and that is dangerous because children who are active have less of a chance of being obese later in life. Even family vacations to national parks or other beautiful vistas have waned, and people choose resorts that offer many indoor activities or rides that encourage little to no physical activity.
In addition to the idea of nature encourage physical activity, if a child is raised indoors, it is likely that they will have little connection to nature and might care less about natural resources, preservation, etc. as adults.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv addresses this very issue. My boyfriend bought this book for his adult daughter so she would be more open to allowing her toddler to play outside and make trips with us to the hunting camp out in the wilderness. I think that contemporary parents are quite fearful of allowing their children to do anything outdoors, whether it’s because of the risk of abduction (which is actually miniscule) to fear of injuries. When I was a school principal, I was amazed at the rules and regulations we had to follow for building a new playground. Almost everything on the old playground, which was used for decades, was considered unsafe and out of date, even though the school had never been sued by anyone for injuries. I am not even aware of any injuries ever suffered there. It’s almost as though contemporary parents want to wrap their children in bubble wrap and Styrofoam to protect them from every possible scraped knee.
I don't know that it's technology so much as population that's made us lose touch with nature. With so many people, there's not all that much nature near us to be in touch with.
Bad thing? Well, I'd rather not have grizzly bears and wolves trying to get "in touch" with me. So to that extent, I'm not sad about losing touch.
I've done a lot of backpacking, I've lived on islands in the middle of the Pacific, but I don't think there's anything about nature that's really essential to people. Nature is a good place to relax, but so is a basketball court.
So, at least for me, nature is nice, but not essential. I think it's good that we still have some natural areas, but I don't think people need nature to be happy.