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How does building a nature relatedness practice help to impact my climate footprint?

Climate change solutions are human solutions.

We have the science and tech to change the world today. Why don’t we do it? We need to build the WILL to do so. We all experience this in our day to day lives. Top tip lists are helpful. Awareness campaigns are informative. But trying to be “good” all the time in a world in transition leads to frustrating compromise.

It takes time to develop habits that stick. Anyone who has ever successfully lost weight or quit smoking knows first hand that change starts with reflecting on one’s lifestyle, what is motivating unwanted behaviour within you and within the world you are living, asking new questions, building new knowledge, finding new solutions and setting gradual goals that lead to big changes that stick.

A Nature Relatedness practice helps you to see yourself AS nature. When it’s in you, not out there, your whole perspective changes and gradually your behaviour in all areas of your life becomes more eco friendly, not just with food. Climate science is also a social science.

How does building a Nature Related Practice improve my well-being?

 

Mindfulness isn’t just about me, it is about we. 

We humans are increasingly seeking coping methods like mindfulness because we feel disconnected. 

Disconnected from what? Many people who practice mindfulness are looking to connect with their sense of purpose and acceptance and love for their true selves. A nature relatedness practice helps you to discover your human nature as a part of all of nature and plugs you into the source of our collective vitality. In this way, your practice begins to benefit people and planet.

How is Nature Relatedness different from connecting to nature?

 

Nature Relatedness is understanding that nature is in you, you are a part of it. Connecting to nature is appreciating nature as something separate from you.

Nature Relatedness is the feeling of being in nature wherever you are, it is the home that surrounds you. Connecting to nature is more often the feeling of visiting nature in a special spot. 

Nature Relatedness provides mental, emotional well-being and triggers behaviour change/sticky habits that last by changing your outlook on life. Connecting to nature provides temporary moments of peace and calm. 

Nature Relatedness is a measurable and progressive practice.

 

To develop a yoga practice and feel all the benefits you have to start by learning foundations like breath work and downward dogs.  The same is true for nature relatedness! The three main foundations to a nature relatedness practice are: 

  • Storytelling to flip the script.  When the story of the apple is told from the perspective of the apple tree, not the pie baking human it is a mind expanding tale!
  • Beginner’s Mind: When we flip the script, we ask new questions that build wonder, knowledge and help us see things we thought we knew all there was to know about in a new way. Mastering the art of asking questions is a key to a lifelong learning journey with nature relatedness.
  • Rituals: Regular, meaningful actions help us to turn good intentions into habits. Eating mirrors culture and is a meaningful expression of values. Think of it this way, you can have a piece of cake 364 days of the year just because it tastes good. On your birthday, that slice of cake represents the history of your life and all your hopes and dreams for the future. Nature relatedness makes most of your eating moments, birthday cake like rituals.

Learn more about it in our series of introductory videos

How do I measure my progress with a Nature Related practice?

Everyone’s identity changes in life given experiences that change perspective. The goal of building a nature relatedness practice is to shift your identity so you see yourself as a part of nature. 

Feeling the benefits won’t happen overnight, it takes time and experiences.  Just like doing yoga, the more you practice, the more benefit you feel.

The Nature relatedness scale, developed by Dr Elisabeth Nisbet at Trent University in Canada, is a tool to use to develop your nature relatedness progress. As you move up the scale, it is correlated with enhanced well being. I for one have felt a whole new sense of wonder and a heightened sensory experience of the world. I simply feel more alive! I also feel a lot less lonely, somehow the birds and insects and animals and plants in my hood feel like neighbours, just like the humans next door. Test yourself on the Nature Relatedness Scale here.

Nature Relatedness is about regeneration, not sustainability.

An NR perspective on life is about being a part of an equally balanced web of life in which humans are not in control.  Sustainability is hierarchical and humans try to be in charge, regeneration is about equality amongst life forms and nature is in charge.

Why eating? Why food?

 

Eating is one thing we all do everyday and cannot avoid that provides the opportunity to build our awareness that we are in constant exchange with nature.

Food isn’t just about the pleasure of the end product. Nor is about farm to fork. It is about considering the full ecosystem. That’s why we talk about soil, wind, trees, birds as well as agro-ecology and recipes. Cooking for Nature Related intent is about blending story telling and beginner’s mind with recipes so that it becomes about a meaningful process as much as the end-product.

If you’re interested in the broader scope on how food is the connector of life, check out this free online course we have launched with Canopy Lab.

Meet Heather, founder of The Mindful Kitchen

Hello there!
Pleased to virtually meet you. I am Heather Thomas, the Founder of The Mindful Kitchen.
I grew up in the kind of Upstate, New York place where I passed farms where my food came from on my way to school. I realised after I moved off to Boston how childhood exposure to the land grounded me (pun intended) and made me understand my dependence on all forms of life, human or otherwise.
I spent 20 years working in the arts and for youth charities, mainly across the pond in London. I embraced city life, but I also harboured a yearning to live closer to the natural world.

Heather shares a fond memory that today is a strong influence in her nature relatedness practice

A beautiful moment feeling peace and connectedness set Heather on the path to working for environmental change through nature relatedness.

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