The topic of nature and the outdoors encompasses a vast area, from the fascinating kingdom of animals to the global environment, and our own relationship with the natural world around us.
“This Is Your Brain on Nature” (National Geographic)
This article explores how “science is proving what we’ve always known intuitively: Nature does good things to the human brain.”
This comes from the January issue of the 2016 year-long NG series “Explore the Power of Parks”, dedicated to examining how we can preserve our wild spaces. The series also celebrates the 100th year of the U.S. National Park Service. There’s lots of other great reads to dive into here.
“Connecting Canadians with Nature” (Canadian Parks Council)
Related to the previous article, and supported by numerous references, this online report describes the reasons why Canadians have collectively been spending less time in nature than in the past. It also speaks to multiple health, environmental and economic benefits that result from us connecting more with nature.
“The outdoor community must step up and become advocates & activists–NOW.” (The Morning Fresh)
After reading this piece by Katie Boué, I felt that the link between enjoying the outdoors and giving back to Mother Nature was clearly articulated. Katie also wrote another article with her thoughts on how we can help to advocate for protecting our lands here.
“This Conservationist Left the Corner Office to Save Wilderness” (National Geographic)
This article features one of NG’s 2016 Adventurers of the Year, Kristine McDivitt Tomkins. Tomkins was the former CEO of Patagonia who has been active in conservation work.
The basic message?: “People need to get up every day and do something that has nothing to do with themselves,” she says. “I hope they work in conservation or activism, but, really, just do something. We don’t have the luxury to sit back and do nothing. That’s my battle cry.”
“Can the Selfie Generation Unplug and Get Into Parks?” (National Geographic)
This article follows writer Timothy Egan’s outdoor trip with his son Casey as the backdrop to the broader issue of the apparent disconnect between millennials and The Great Outdoors. It also touches on who accesses the wilderness, and the efforts of the U.S. National Park Service to encourage more diversity amongst park visitors.
Other writers (e.g. this one) have also deplored the apparently woeful state of today’s outdoor adventuring by the younger generations. Their gripe? That the new version of enjoying the outdoors simply focuses on bagging the most peaks or posting the mostInstagram-worthy shots. Whether you agree or not, it’s an interesting debate to explore.
Documentaries & Films
Planet Earth (BBC Earth)
This incredible series shows the natural planet up close and personal, in all its unexplainable wonder and untamed ferocity.
I love Planet Earth because it shows us the other side of our world — the one many of us don’t get to see in our daily lives, but that we still affect through our actions and inactions. It reminds us of the awesome power of Mother Nature, and how we are but a small part of the planet community.
(You can buy Planet Earth: The Complete Series (Special Edition) [6-Disc Blu-ray] on Amazon, or watch it on Netflix. Don’t forget that the sequel, Planet Earth II (BD) [Blu-ray] is also now available! Watch the captivating trailer here.)
Even if you’re not a climber, it’ll be hard not to appreciate this documentary about the climbing culture and traditions set in Yosemite National Park. Get ready to experience stunning scenery and incredible feats accomplished by brave, bold outdoor adventurers.
(Reel Rock 9 Valley Uprising: Yosemites Rock Climbing Revolution DVD is available on Amazon, or watch it on Netflix.)
I give credit to National Geographic for encouraging my curiosity for nature and travel when I was very young. The photos from other-worldly vistas sometimes seemed too incredible to be real.
Although nothing beats sitting down with a cup of coffee and good old-fashioned magazine in your hand, the website also covers the wide array of topics — animals, travel, environment, climate change, and so on — that the now almost-130-year-old publication has been known to report on.
Janice is a writer & singer-songwriter whose happy place is immersed in nature
My journey and learnings from living the farm life
The Great Outdoors
Adventures and tips for hiking, canoeing and soloing it in the wilderness
My experiences in nature around the world
Your Take on Nature
Your dedicated space for sharing your own experiences in nature
Links to resources on food, farming, the outdoors & the environment
My favourite photos living and adventuring in nature