Why is Nature Important?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of David Abbott David Abbott 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Anna McAndrew

    I am studying Education at Goldsmiths and in our seminar groups we have very interesting discussions, there are partly so interesting because I often find myself shocked at the other students points of view and debates. For example in one class we were talking about the importance of Nature in education. They did not see the relevance and importance of nature, or any reason to include it in our schools. “Why should we care about trees if there are none in the city?” one girl said suggesting that as there isn’t much nature around it must not be very importnat and why should we focus on it in education. I suppose this lack of understanding and respect for nature might be partly because they have grown up in London without the same exposure to wildlife one has growing up in the country?

    I personally think nature is the most important part of life and I don’t see how anyone can question it.

    I know this is a brief description but was wondering what people felt about this sort of statement and whether there is someone you know of who has written about the importance of Nature in Education…



    Brodie Calis

    The problem with the way people see nature or the environment, is we disconnect it from other things. Many cant see the connection to nature and things like business. People need to know that the environment can continue without governments, and stock markets and business, but governments and stock markets or any part of humanity cannot continue without nature. If all our rivers are dried up and forest chopped down, there will be no way of surviving. There is a Cree proverb, “Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” A lot of people think we are changing the world, but some think it doesn’t matter that it wont destroy the world, and this is true. The world wont stop if we poison it, but our world will end, and our species will cease to exist. Its important to teach that our world is dependent on our conservation of nature, and keeping this very delicate system, balanced.

    ~Brodie C.



    Straight forward ‘end of species’ is one outcome but there are certainly others.

    Various changes in lifestyle as a result of moving further from nature have lead to a reduction in the quality of the ‘inner life’ and wellbeing of whole cultures.

    I’m certainly no spirituality nut but I spent a great deal of my school days up a tree with a book. This experience is a spirituality that inexplicably draws us into a greater context of natural systems and slowness which a life separate from nature cannot achieve.

    I agree Anna, something I’ve learned too is that those people who don’t have the experience of  spending quality individual time in nature don’t miss it, don’t yearn for it and ultimately don’t know the improvement it would make to their lives.

    The scary thing is that whole generations of people who have not experienced a quiet morning walk in the forest, wont care if they never have and wont know the importance of it.

    I’m sure in the future scientists will find ways to balance atmospheric carbon and possibly use algae to create oxygen but without wilderness they’ll never recreate the adventure of sitting by a lake in the evening.


    Brodie Calis

    I agree completly Camlee! ive lived my whole life, in country towns close to forests and large bodies of water, spending much of my childhood on the coasts of vancouver island on the west coast of Canada. Ive spent years playing in forests and down by rivers and creeks, and loved and still love it. But in the last 6 months ive moved to Ottawa Ontario, a larger city, and find my self lost. There is no big forests and the only water is the canal, and ottawa river, which are covered with buildings. I feel lost at times, and try and walk to find some wilderness that isnt the city and get strange looks from locals, when i say im going for a walk, or try and find some green to lie down in, or when i comment on how there is no stars. i find my self wandering in the cold, and think, what if the whole world was like this, or how people have never left the city. Its quite troublesome, because these people wont get a chance to experience it, and have no problem with saying why should i care.

    Avatar of David Abbott
    David Abbott
    Key Master

    The thrust of what everyone is saying feels really right to me. Like you all, I grew up experiencing valuable moments of nature in my life. It seems lacking now, and I know that is shame.

    But I also think it is the contrast between nature and urban life that gives good value. Knowing one from the other, experiencing both. There is almost always more value in something when it can be compared experientially with another. The power of Thoreau’s Walden owes as much to the city as it does to nature.

    @annamcandrew Apologies – this doesn’t help answer your question about Nature and Education at all!

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