It used to be that when an ecosystem was restored or conserved, we would look back to what it once was. This was a more removed form of environmentalism that saw humans as disconnected from nature. Any long term commitment to a balanced human and Earth relationship will include conservation and environmental policies that strengthen the coevolving relationship. We need environmental policy that balances both the needs of nature and humans, as well as seeks to align human activities with the natural rhythms of the Earth.
How can you make a difference?
- Explore local and regional tourism options instead of international or even national travel. Get to know your local biosphere and create relationships with nearby nature that you and your family can nurture over long periods of time. Creating a relationship with nature helps us to feel more connected to the environment overall. Regions often have websites highlighting local activities.
- Once you find local places you can access easily, try to go back to these places regularly, to build a relationship with the place and see how it changes over the seasons. Allow your children to make up stories about that place – search for fairies, try to spot elves – as they grow older they will carry the whimsy and magic with them as a relationship to place and it could fuel environmental activism
- Join (or create) local nature clubs. Give yourself opportunities to enjoy different activities outdoors, in all seasons and weather.
|Local and Municipal||Federal & Provincial/State|
|Include cultural components to restoration and conservation projects. Include benches for people to sit on to enjoy nature, create paths with signage to stay off of certain protected areas, and etc.||Account for ecosystem services in overall measurements of national success.|
|Create eco-cultural experiences for local residences such as canoe launches on local rivers, paths through natural spaces||Design and invest in diverse outdoor spaces that both protect natural spaces and allow humans to interact with nature, considering a variety of relationships and values that humans have with nature, and thus enhancing the cultural significance of nature in people’s lives|
|Development of a local ‘restoration ethic’ for decision making informed by science, human culture, health of non-human species, and restorative capacity||Support art programs and grants for environmental storytelling|
|Hold regular festivals, gatherings, BBQs, Nature Play groups, and family events in public spaces|
|Remove invasive plants and plant keystone species (oak, cherry, cottonwood, birch)|
|Create pollinator garden spaces|
|Ban yard pesticides and implement controls on yard fertilizing|
|Center Indigenous land management practices, context and location specific, by being in relationship with Indigenous communities in place, cross-referencing any resources with the communities|
Related E4A Publications
Garver, G. and Brown, P. (2009). Humans and Nature: The Right Relationship. Minding Nature: Spring 2(1).
Change in Action
While not all of these projects direction involve E4A, they are great examples of diverse examples of socio-ecological change in action.
- The Elves in Iceland ““We humans have forgotten about that and think we can live without nature,” Jónsdóttir told ATI. “But the elves remember and help remind us that of course we can not do that.””
- Cross Country Pilgrimage Routes gets kids to rural areas and building personal relationships with farmers
- Love My Hood in Kitchener is a local economic development plan to help citizens take ownership of their neighbourhood. This helps establish a sense of place and connection to local areas.
- Hedgelaying in Ontario’s Greenbelt
- How Native Americans Managed “Wild” Land Long Before Settlers
- What western states can learn from Native American wildfire management strategies
- Indigenous Stewardship Methods and NRCS Conservation Practices