Issue 18’s Ethos eights encourage us to find some sunny spots in the city, share environmental inspiration and leave us with something to listen to.
Eight ways to embrace nature in the city
The beauty of the world we live in makes life worth living. Yet, if you live in – or spend a lot of time in a city – the cosmopolitan setting can make it hard to remember nature. Being in nature can reduce stress, improve confidence and help with mindfulness. So, here are eight ways to embrace nature in the hustle and bustle.
1) Find green spaces: It’s a trope in survival films for a reason. Wherever you are, seeking out greenery is important in so many ways. Greenery means life, abundance, water, earth. Just being around greenery can boost your mood, so try stepping into your local park. Explore your area to find a peaceful green space where you can spend time embracing nature. Whether that means somewhere to take the dog, the kids – or just yourself – embrace the blessing of accessing greenery.
2) Interact with wildlife: Who says you need to go to the safari or a zoo to connect with wildlife? For the majority of us, wildlife is right on our doorstep. Try feeding the birds with seeds from produce that you’d normally throw away. Examples that are safe for birds include bell pepper, melon and citrus seeds. Just give them a rinse, and feed them to your nearest winged friend.
3) Get your thumbs green: If you can’t get out into nature, bring nature to you. Brighten your work or living space with house plants; you may find that looking after them and watching the plant life flourish makes you fall deeper in love with your space. Or why not take it outside? If you have a garden, try growing herbs, flowers or even tasty root vegetables. If you don’t have a garden, a simple window sill works for herbs.
4) Mood boost with movement: Combine the dopamine boost of being in nature with the natural mood booster of movement. Exercising in nature is beneficial for both body and mind; it’s a great way to increase your health, get into greenery and also boost your confidence! Try taking a jog in your local park, or even just a simple walk. Do some basic stretch yoga and breathe in the fresh air as you do. Watch yourself feel joyful.
5) Big blue on-the-go: The sky is a part of nature that is with us wherever we go – start tapping into the inner child within you that loves to find shapes in rainclouds, count stars, or watch planes soar by. Sky gazing is a fantastic way to appreciate the world we live in and boost your mood. It can also increase your mindfulness too, helping to root you in the present moment when life gets stressful.
6) Disconnect: Let’s all touch some grass. Sometimes we need it. With how much time we spend in the digital world, it’s easy to forget how much nature is around us. Disconnecting for a short while as we spend our time in fresh air enhances the experience. Free of distractions, watch as your stress levels reduce.
7) Seasonal produce: Another great way to embrace nature is through our diets. Let’s move with the seasons, and consume more seasonal produce. Not only does this have a positive effect on the environment, but when we begin to tailor our diets to the fruits of nature’s seasons, we can begin to appreciate our earth more. As the weather warms, try including more local and seasonal fruits in your diet.
8) Get curious: Nature is a fascinating topic. And there’s always an endless stream of things to learn about. Try reading books on aspects you find most interesting, whether that’s agriculture, wildlife or astronomy. Watch nature documentaries, or go bird or plant spotting in your local area. Getting curious is a perfect way to embrace nature, and bring joy.
Eight green role models
Leading a joyful life means staying hopeful and having great role models. So, how can we stay hopeful about our environment? Keep up with the good news from the good fight. Here, in no particular order, are eight fantastic green role models to keep tabs on.
1) Kids against plastic: Amy and Ella Meek are sisters who kicked off a non-profit Kids Against Plastic. Since they started their project aged 10 and 12, their campaigns have reached thousands of schools and cafés across the UK.
2) Ilyess El Korbi: This Ukrainian climate activist has made an impact in campaigning for climate justice. For them, the climate crisis and war in Ukraine are linked and Ilyess is a strong voice in contextualising the impact of war on our climate.
3) Haatepah Clearbear: Model, actor and activist, Haatepah uses his huge platform to advocate for progress on the climate crisis. From an Indigenous Mexican background, he supports his community through the Indigenous Alliance Movement, a collective protecting sacred sites and Indigenous people’s rights.
4) Vanessa Nakate: This Ugandan activist brings a fresh perspective to the climate movement. Vanessa published her book A Bigger Picture in 2021 and was also part of Climate Crisis: Hurricanes documentary film in 2022.
5) Nyombi Morris: Also from Uganda, Nyombi speaks out for climate justice and gender equality. His activism involves putting pressure on world leaders to address polluters and causes of climate-based flooding that impacts his life.
6) Autumn Peltier: This young activist is known as the Water Protector of Canada’s indigenous territories. Her work raises awareness of the water crisis affecting the country’s Indigenous populations, speaking at UN assemblies and working closely with water relief charities.
7) Anjali Raman-Middleton: Co-founder of Choked Up, Anjali started the campaign following Ella Adoo-Kissi Debrah’s death, in which air pollution was found to be a cause. Since then, she raises awareness of the disproportionate effect of air pollution on marginalised communities.
8) Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti: Elizabeth is founder of the Green Generation Initiative, a non-profit that educates children and communities and empowers them to be environmentally conscious. So far, it’s planted over 30,000 trees to combat deforestation in Kenya.
Eight variety podcasts
We all want to make sense of the world, or learn something new: be inspired, eat well, continue our self-improvement and be well-read. And most of the time, we all like a little something to listen to that helps us achieve these things while we get on with other tasks. Podcasts are fantastic for this. Here are eight variety podcasts to try…
1) The Sensemaker by Tortoise: Feeling overwhelmed with rapid news? The Sensemaker takes the news one story at a time, with careful consideration and a nuanced approach. Episodes range from five to ten minutes – perfect for quick news on-the-go.
2) How To Fail With Elizabeth Day: Failure is an important ingredient for success, and this podcast proves that. Elizabeth Day brings on influential interviewees from different fields to talk about their most important failures and how it helped them grow.
3) Shot & Chaser by Spotify Studios: Another podcast with short episodes, Shot & Chaser is perfect if you want to expand your general knowledge. Ten-minute bursts of interesting stories from history, to science, to business, this podcast teaches you something new Monday to Friday, every week.
4) The Shit Show by SYSCA: The internet can be a whirlwind of information, and this podcast helps navigate that. Created by the social media brand Shit You Should Care about, The Shit Show takes a humorous and casual approach to news, politics, and pop culture.
5) The Doctor’s Kitchen: Are you a foodie? Want to improve your health? This podcast from Dr Rupy Aujla covers nutritional medicine in diet and lifestyle in a simple to understand, accessible way. Each episode has an expert guest to bring their perspective.
6) Think Fast, Talk Smart – communication techniques: Stanford Graduate School of Business analyses common daily communication challenges we all deal with on a daily basis. From professional and personal settings, to insights on speaking and writing, this pod helps boost your communication skills.
7) Unexplainable by Vox: If you’re fascinated by the unknown, this is for you. Covering scientific mysteries, archaeology, biology and more, this podcast will leave you intellectually stimulated and wondering what more we don’t know.
8) Book Off!: Ever wondered what books your favourite authors would recommend to read? This might be the pod for you. Every episode brings on two writers to recommend a book they think everyone should read… but it’s competitive! Only one book can win…