From passive solar heating to ‘sit spots’, author Richard Louv suggests three ways we can experience more nature in our daily lives
1. Choose a ‘sit spot’
Jon Young, one of the world’s preeminent nature educators, advises finding a special place in nature, whether it’s under a tree, the hidden bend of a river, or a rooftop garden. “Know it by day; know it by night, in the depth of winter, in the heat of summer,” he writes. “Know the birds that live there, know the trees they live in. Get to know these things as if they were your relatives.” They are.
2. Practise ‘friluftsliv’
‘Friluftsliv’ is a Norwegian term that roughly translates as ‘free air life’. It’s a lifestyle idea that promotes outdoor activity as being good for all aspects of human health. It’s pretty straightforward – just be outside as much as possible. Work it into your schedule by committing to being in nature for a minimum amount of time every day, or a certain number of days a month.
3. Design with nature in mind
Arrange your furniture in sync with the sun’s movements, so that sleeping and waking relate to the available light. If you’re designing a house, place large windows on south-facing walls for passive solar heating. Combine solar panels with skylights and use lights that adjust throughout the day via sensors.
Richard Louv is an author as well as co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network. His most recent book is Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. He is working on his tenth, about the evolving relationship between humans and other animals.