“…Nature Culture embodies all these initiatives within a single vision of establishing a sustainable lifestyle as a cultural imperative.”
– Rob Butler, Terralingua Magazine, 2017
Nature Culture is a suite of traditions rooted in a sustainable natural world. The concept of Nature Culture is that nature has benefits for humans and a good way to sustain the natural world over a long term is to make nature the basis of a culture.
- A principle of a Nature Culture is to sustain nature as a cultural imperative. The principle assumes that rooting a culture in nature will lead to sustaining the natural world.
- A second principle is that to create a cultural imperative requires experiencing nature. This principle assumes that by spending time in nature, individuals will establish a relationship that can form the basis of a culture.
- A third principle is that individuals motivated by their experience in nature will find outlets that will become cultural traditions. This principle assumes that individuals have the motivation and willingness to express their experience.
- A fourth principle is that a Nature Culture requires many individuals to have opportunities to share their experiences for sufficiently long times and with enough people to become established as a culture.
Sustaining the natural world is a central tenet of a Nature Culture so that the value of nature becomes enhanced. Decision-making around sustainability is guided by a culture of science, innovation and value exploration. Nature culture requires scientific advice to explore and refine our approaches and to enrich our experience and interaction with nature. The benefits of nature have become a hot topic of recent research. We need to understand the mechanisms of how nature bestows benefits on humans and how to provide those benefits to everyone. Green places near where we live will be part of the health benefit action, but specifically the kind of green space and benefits accrued need further investigation.
Providing places where people can spend time in the natural world is the cradle of a cultural response. Nature Culture is about getting to know nature and celebrating it. If you like to walk, birdwatch, photograph, cycle, run, surf, hike, canoe, garden, or just contemplating spending time out of doors, then you are on your way to celebrating the natural world. You can come to nature through art, science, music, dance, food, language or other cultural expression.
The celebration of nature requires becoming comfortable in natural areas and that begins at an early age. Exposure to nature should become a feature of how we bring up our children. A Nature Culture approach should be adopted into school curricula, clubs, and family outings. Parks and wild places become special places to introduce nature to our children and connect to living in the wilds for extended periods of time.
A Nature Culture celebration will become a tradition given enough time. Providing a stage to showcase experiences in nature is one way to start the tradition. Feasting is an example of how a tradition can begin. Food serves a key function of connecting people to the region and feasting provides a focal point for celebrations of important cultural events.
A Nature Culture feast celebrates locally sourced food that is produced sustainably. You might consider a large banquet feast if you feel adventurous or you might just invite your family. A Nature Culture feast is a fun theme for a pot luck dinner among friends. Challenge each other to come up with unique dishes and give the food names. Who knows, maybe a Nature Culture cook book might arise? Don’t become too rigid in what is included in your feast – some ingredients are not available locally and the idea after all, is to have fun.