Our everyday lives are decreasingly connected to nature. We’re increasingly separated from the context we evolved in. Is that a good thing?
Now, our relationship with nature hasn’t always been one of benevolent protection, as Roderick Nash has let us know. We lived dangerous lives until we developed the means to defend ourselves, and then the wilderness became an opportunity to expand and profit. Now, however, with wilderness diminishing, and a growing awareness of the value of wildness for serendipitous diversity, we are beginning to view wilderness as a precious resource.
But are there reasons to consider wilderness benefits for our thinking and learning? The evidence appears to say yes. When we’re in wilderness with minimal risks, at least, the proximity to natural sounds and scenes seems to stimulate areas of the brain. It may take just a walk, or three days, but there are apparent benefits to heart and mind.
I’ve tried to get out in the wilderness at least once a year. I like to hike, and in particular to get backpacking, of late with trips to Yosemite National Park. A friend/colleague/mentor has regularly organized these trips, and several of us will hike off with our tents, stoves, sleeping bags, water filters, bear cans, and everything else for 3-7 days and get above timber line, sweaty, dirty, and happy. It was on just such a trip where ‘Quinnovation‘ emerged as a branding!
I’ve taken the family, too, to share my love of the outdoors. So, I’m off again, and we’ll see whether I come back charged with creativity (or just exhausted ;). Happy trails!