Seeking Connection, Cultivating the Positive

The LFIA held a screening of the award-winning film, Love Thy Nature, on a warm October night with UTS’ Institute for Sustainable Futures. The movie and following Positivitree activity were great ways to get people thinking about the positive actions they can take in bringing about our mission for a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. This cinematic immersion into the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world shows that renewing this connection is the key to a highly advanced and conscious new era.

This connection to nature is now referred to as ‘biophilia’, derived from the ancient Greek bios being life, and philia meaning to love, effectively ‘love of life’. This is best described by E. O. Wilson as “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life”. It refers to the inherent joy we feel when in nature.

With the goal of encouraging biophilia, we held an exercise after the screening to get moviegoers thinking, writing and eventually doing. The activity was to populate our optimistically called “Positivitree” with a single positive action that attendees would do to improve their connection with nature. The audience’s commitments ranged from the simple: “Go outside every day”, “Slow down” – to the complex: “educating the other 98% of people who aren’t seeing what we see” (Scroll to the end to see the full list).

pre-post-tree
Positivitree activity

The Positivitree exercise was about: 1) recognising what each of us can do to have a positive effect on ourselves and environment, and 2) making ourselves accountable to actually do it. The simple step of writing goals down was shown to increase the likelihood of goal achievement by 40%, according to a  study by Dr Gail Matthews at the Dominican University of California.

While this positive action may seem self-serving (and I’m not about to try say that’s untrue), there are knock-on benefits. For example, when you’re happy, you smile. Our body and subconscious does this for us, it’s not something we have to do intentionally. Well, here’s the knock-on: smiling is actually contagious, as shown in research by Adrienne Wood at the University of Wisconsin. She found that people unconsciously simulate the facial expressions of others, which partially activates the emotional state associated with the expression. There you have it, a simple recipe for joy – be joyful.

Now it’s over to you. Pick up a quill and write down how you’re going to take a moment every day to be selfish and enjoy nature – not only for yourself, but also for the benefit those who don’t.


Download the templates for your own Positivitree here – bare tree and tessellating leaf pattern.

Commitments

  • Take more time to learn from nature
  • Getting back in touch with nature on a regular basis (daily)
  • Get out with nature daily. Be a voice for nature
  • Take at least one completely mindful breath each day to acknowledge and pay respect in nature
  • Life creates a healthy environment for life. I will:

    -Plant veggies
    -Breathe
    -Appreciate
    -Reconnect more

  • I will have a tree in my cupboard office
  • We become based on how we think. We think based on our conditioning and our food consumption. To change our thinking we need to change our food habits. Go vegetarian.
  • Take others with me into nature. Improve my health through my connection with nature
  • I am committed to educating the 98% of people who aren’t seeing what we see
  • Join a bushwalking group + walk a t least once a month
  • I want to see a more compassionate world; therefore, I commit to be more compassionate with other people and with myself
  • Change to humanely produced chicken (I don’t eat beef nor pork already)
  • Support animal shelters and adopt where possible
  • I’m going to bushwalk once a month
  • Spend time outside every day
  • Source local and ethically produced food
  • Slow down
  • Help regenerate local community gardens and reserves
  • Show this film at the SDG2016 conference 29-30th November 2016
  • Connect with nature every day. Take my kids into the bush at least monthly
  • Take my friends into nature. Promote Biophilia
  • Take a walk in the park each day and touch it!
  • Look after my garden more and spend more time in the sun
  • Be loving
  • Start my own business in nature connection facilitation and movement in nature therapy
  • Pick up rubbish and put it in the bin
  • Visit a park and sit quietly – regularly, deliberately!
  • Be more ethical and be less greedy and wasteful. Take better care of my plants!!
  • Be kinder to all beings – connect with nature more
  • Exercise in nature. Walk more in a park
  • Spend more time in nature