Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

Every day I make time to go outside and truly enjoy nature. Because of that I have much less stress and have gotten to know my inner child.  -Participant Rewild your Life
You can’t expect people to be mindful of the planet and nature if they don’t have a connection to it, says Canadians Alissa Wild and Kevin Park of Rewildyourlife. That’s why they started the 30-day ‘Rewild your life challenge’ in which participants spend at least a half hour each day out in nature.
Living out in nature is not required, because, says Park, ‘nature is always all around us. Even if you live in the city.’ During the challenge the most important guideline is that you are fully engaged in the time you spend in nature. Out in nature means: outside in a natural environment. So a park or back yard will meet the requirements. Electronic devices such as smartphones or mp3-players are not allowed, with the exception of cameras. Cameras are allowed so participants can record special moments to share with other participants.
But how do you get people who more often have their heads in the iCloud than in real clouds to go outside? Through social media. ‘We started with an online community of people who are, just like us, crazy about nature. With that we reached out to others. We do that by sharing inspiring things, such as beautiful nature pictures.’ In the meantime a considerable number of ‘city-folks’ are now nature lovers. The online community has become an important part of the challenge. People who sign up for the challenge receive the guidelines via email as well as an invitation to a closed Facebook group. There they can meet other participants. They share the stories and pictures of their own experiences. Because participants are found all across the world the Facebook page is a bright collection of very diverse landscapes.
Inner strength
The challenge gives people far more than Wild and Park expected. ‘We receive comments from people who’ve gone through difficult times and found inner strength, as much from their nature experiences as the contact with the online community.’ One of those participants who affected the duo most is 70-year old Arty. When she started the challenge she had such severe arthritis that she couldn’t even get off her veranda. Slowly but surely with a little help she would walk further, and in April she managed to walk on her own with a cane. Her most beautiful experience was the challenge to walk barefoot in nature. ‘She was so happy she was able to do this as she hadn’t been able to for 25 years,’ says Wild.
Not everyone is equally excited that Wild and Park are encouraging people to go out into nature. Sometimes they’re told that nature should be left alone and that nature areas get damaged from people walking through it. ‘We don’t believe that. In fact we try to teach people to respect nature. We encourage them to pick up trash they might find on their walks and not to litter.’ And they give guidelines to stay on the marked paths as much as possible and to follow the rules of the park or nature preserve. ‘If we can convince people of how beautiful this world is they’ll be more willing to take care of it. Besides, we would like everyone to enjoy the positive effects of nature; mentally, physically and spiritually.’
On June 1st a new challenge will start. You can participate from any country. When you sign up you’ll receive the rules and access to the closed Facebook group where you can meet up with other participants. For those who would like to read more there is the Rewild your life guidebook. This book offers more challenges, such as a 30-day scavenger hunt, and has more details on what a nature experience does for your body and your spirit. 
Become a member or sign up for a free issue for more optimistic news.

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