Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
The Power of a Connection... and Its Endless Possibilities
As we look toward the upcoming NAAEE conference theme on 'The Power of Connection', I asked my friend and colleague, Mr. Amit Banka to share his wisdom and experience as Founder and CEO of WeNaturalists.com, an interactive, international hub for all things environmental. I hope you enjoy this insightful guest blog. With best wishes, Donna Goodman.
Connections fundamentally redefine our perspectives in life. They help us in better understanding the environment around us and making us radically shift our lens and outlook on society. One meaningful connection can change lives. It can move mountains and inspire action. Connecting with people is, without putting it mildly, revolutionary.
Humans are social beings. There’s an intrinsic need for us to interact with minds that are similar and sometimes, contrary to our own—in upbringing, ideals, and thoughts. Networking with people from different backgrounds, geographies, cultures, etc. challenges our principles and ultimately helps us understand ourselves better.
Being Part of a Network to Seek Meaningful Connections
Everyone craves a sense of belonging. The power of a true connection can revitalize and breathe new life into people. Our realization of the need for connections has only deepened in the pandemic. This is also because humans have been rudely reminded how detachment and social isolation can take a toll on us. A Cambridge study of 226,638 people in North America found that social distancing in the pandemic elevated depression and anxiety by 24.0% and 21.3%, respectively.
I believe that connecting with nature is as powerful and important as connecting with people. We’ve seen the lines of virtual to real-world blurring every day and using the internet as a powerful tool for nature is critical. At a time when the world is in the grips of the climate crisis, we have to use the power of our connection to nature and build on it.
Research emphasizes a direct positive impact on an individual’s well-being by connecting with nature. And against the backdrop of global environmental changes and biodiversity loss, bringing nature into our lives can help us survive and thrive at the same time.
Look at the problems we are facing today. Over half of the global GDP—$44 trillion—is potentially threatened by nature loss. Environmentalists are urging world leaders to aim for transformative change across socioeconomic factors. The overwhelming message is clear—there is no room for “business as usual” practices. We have to act and make a difference with our actions right now.
“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature-the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” –Rachel Carson
An Ecosystem For Connections With People of Nature—WeNaturalists
Our vision at WeNaturalists is centered around the power of connecting with people of nature. We imagine a world where connections with people who are the guardians of nature can lead to endless possibilities. Connections can be much more fruitful when it’s with like-minded people—someone who can add tremendous value to our lives.
The purpose of WeNaturalists isn’t to simply bring people together (which is a humbling task as it is). It’s much bigger: To reach the deepest corners of Earth and showcase the good and powerful work of the people of nature, those that don’t end up winning accolades but deserve it nonetheless.
And ultimately, to empower the people of nature.
Let’s Focus on Green Childhood
But for whom are we building these tools, connections in nature? Us and those who came after us.
“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” –Native American proverb
What can be more impactful and rewarding than building a generation that’s environmentally conscious? Awareness creation for the children of nature is critical in the coming decade. We are the only generation that’s getting to see the effects of climate change. And yet, we also have the privilege and power to do something about it.
Imagine a world where facets of the natural world are taught to children in the way we inculcate family and cultural values from a young age, and as a part of essential learnings.
The key to change is connecting with the people of nature, which, in my opinion, is invigorating. They give you a wealth of knowledge. A connection with the people of nature can give you a lifetime of stories, insights, and so much more.
The power of connections enhances our perspective. So let’s use it to build a world that can have a unique, positive impact on society. Together.