• Vanessa Opal June

The Naturalist Movement: 5 Ways to Join In

The Naturalist Movement is rooted in the deep belief that fostering a connection with the natural world around you not only helps the environment, but heals our body, mind and spirit. During this pandemic we've been forced to slow down—or stop altogether—and take a collective breath from our frenetic, high-demand lifestyles, and search for deeper meaning in our lives. The data doesn't lie: Interest in yoga, meditation and indoor planting has more than tripled for businesses.

If you're interested in living a Naturalist lifestyle but don't know where to start, here are five transformative ways to live that Naturalist life without getting overwhelmed🌿

1. Start a Yoga Practice.

Yoga allows you to become in tune with your body. As you come to understand your body's signals, you'll tap into the innate knowledge of your body's needs. Listen in, and respect your body's wishes with exercise, chemical and hormone-free products. Try to eliminate processed foods from your diet, and give yourself lots of self-love.

2. Eat Locally and Seasonally.

The Naturalist Movement asks that you see the connection between your body and the Earth; what you put into your body and where you get your food are equally important. When food is shipped to your nearby wholesale marketers, it could be coming in from as far as the other hemisphere! When we choose to eat seasonally, we become more mindful of how each season showcases our favourite foods, and we start to look forward to having them! Local farmers need our support to sustain their livelihoods and continue providing fresh produce in our communities. Shop farmers markets and local markets who source their products locally. Many farmers markets accept WIC and EBT benefits, doing a great service to make fresh food more accessible in our communities!

3. Buy Responsibly.

There is a lot of power in how we spend our money, and we can use it to shape global policies regarding how we treat our environment, indigenous peoples and systemic racism—that's right, your money is that strong. Research companies from whom your buy your food, clothing and home products: Do they promote sustainable practices? Are their products made with fair-trade standards so as not to exploit labour? Are their profits funding policies against equal human rights? You have a right to know what your purchases are truly funding; there are many apps and social media feeds dedicated to helping us buy responsibly, such as the Ethical Trade Initiative.

4. Preserve Our Resources.

Related very much to how we eat and what we buy, understanding that our planet's resources are finite is the foundation of The Naturalist Movement. Our consumerist society will have us believe that we are always in need of something newer, something better, something shinier—at the cost of clean water, unpolluted air and unrelinquished lands from indigenous peoples. We must do better. Hard working nonprofits such as Global Citizen offer ways to take action.

5. Commune with Nature.

One of the simplest, yet most compelling ways to start your path. Sit in nature. Feel the sun on your face, with breeze on your skin. Listen to the birds chirping, and trees swaying in the wind. Smell the scent of the plants around you, or the rain in the air. Have a taste of your water and think of how fortunate access to fresh water is—even in the United States. When we open our eyes to the gifts our planet gives us, we can begin to take actionable steps to live in harmony.

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©2020 by Vanessa Opal June