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How To Really Do Your Bit For The Planet. The answer may surprise you!

Updated: Apr 16

Sea view of cliffs from the coast path in Pembrokeshire with wild flowers

In the current climate emergency you may be wondering how to really do your bit for the planet. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and at a loss to take action.

I absolutely get it.

But what I've realised recently is that there is one really powerful way to make a difference and that's to spend more time in nature.

Through its positive effects on our mental health and well-being, our appreciation and compassion for nature grows, compelling us to protect it. 

In this post I’ll share:

  • why spending time in nature is so vital, not only to our well-being but to the health of the planet

  • tips on how to make it part of your day

You need to know that many people have the same questions and worries about taking action for the environment. With a few simple intentions you can start taking positive action today that will have a ripple effect on your whole life and outwards to the natural world. 

Let’s dive in!

How to really do your bit for the planet from the heart 

Do you want to be seen as someone doing the bare minimum for the environment? 

Or are you striving to be a force for change and a role model for others?

If it's the latter then you’ve got the positive mindset required to move the needle! 

You see, change starts with you and what your heart says. To be able to do our bit for the planet we must first fall in love with nature and that requires quiet, intentional time spent in appreciation. 

For busy lives this may seem like too much to ask but even the tiniest moments add up. That fleeting moment of noticing sunlight falling on leaves, or tuning in to 

birdsong outside the window, pausing to enjoy the feeling of a cool breeze on your cheeks. These moments trigger our emotions and pique curiosity, from which comes empathy and a will to help protect what is precious. 

 “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall we be saved.” Jane Goodall 

The power of quiet time in nature

Nature is incredible at providing so much joy, wonder and comfort in our lives.

A woman wearing a hat swimming in the river looking peaceful
Swimming in nature

Over the last few months I’ve been working on an environmental art project commissioned by Span Arts Narberth called Becoming Nature. Through photography and writing I explore the power and meaning of these moments of nature connection for ten Pembrokeshire locals in their favourite places in nature.

Each person's story is different yet the common thread is clear; our health and well-being are closely tied to the natural world.

Scientific evidence for this is growing too with countless studies showing the unequivocal benefits of time in nature. By tuning into our natural surroundings we wake up from and escape our thoughts that often make us anxious, stressed and unwell.

Without a thriving natural world we cannot thrive either so by looking after nature we are looking after ourselves. 

And this is the key. Through therapeutic time in nature we not only nurture ourselves, we nurture the planet too. Compassion becomes our power towards saving the natural world. 

Making nature time part of your day 

Short (1-10 mins)

Have you ever had one of those moments in nature that stops you in your tracks? 

Just a few minutes or even a moment can be transformational, waking you up from a swirl of negative thoughts and lifting your spirits. Look for those moments throughout your day. 

Make the intention to step outside and notice something in nature- sounds, sights, smells or touch. 

For example, you could:

  • walk barefoot on the grass or earth

  • smell the vegetation

  • look for how light is falling

  • listen for bird song

  • watch how wind ripples through trees.  

Medium  (10- 60 mins)

With a bit of extra time you can extend the appreciation to:

  • Stroll round your garden or local park and consider the diversity of plants

  • Run along the beach (exercise plus time in nature, what a combo!)

  • Explore rockpools at low tide

  • Lie under a tree 

Long (2 hours - half a day)

Deep appreciation comes from immersing yourself in nature for longer periods. Either alone or with someone you're comfortable to pause all conversation for a set period of time: 

  • Swimming at a secluded beach

  • Bird watching on a remote cliffside

  • Seawatching from the coastal path

  • Using naturalist skills to explore tracks and signs or identify species

By using all of your senses in turn to consider and appreciate your surroundings, you’ll notice things you might have missed previously. As time passes you’ll feel more connected to your surroundings and absorbed in the present moment. This is the essence of mindfulness and is akin to meditation with all the associated benefits.

A woman standing in the sea with waves
Swimming in the wild sea

Inspiration from others

My recent work Becoming Nature is a call to action; this powerful collection of 'love stories to nature' aims to inspire everyone to get out in nature. Combining evocative portraits, photographs of the environment and species and haiku poems the narrative is one of healing, gratitude and wonder.  Shared as an illustrated talk, weaved with live original music from Glas Captains at venues throughout Pembrokeshire, it has proved to be a moving event. 

The next showing is on Wednesday 22nd May at Twr y Felin hotel, St David’s, Pembrokeshire. I'd love to see you there?

Join me for a heartfelt evening of beautiful images, thoughtful words and blissful tunes. 

Tickets are £12 and limited to 40 spaces. Book tickets

For an excerpt, hop over to my website to read Bryan’s Love Story To Nature

In short, I urge you to get out in nature, live with heart and do your utmost to spread the love for the natural world. Intention, curiosity and compassion lead to empathy and fierce action to protect what we love. 

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