Connecting with Nature: City Living

Metropolis may seem an antonym to nature, but despite the constructions of our stifling cities we’re more than capable of tapping into the creature of earth within. Our buildings and parking lots can’t keep plants and animals out.

In a totalitarian garden, weeds may be considered pests. When walking down a city sidewalk though, a dandelion creeping from the concrete is a delight to behold. Take notice of the enduring strength of the greenery you find on your usual walks. Learn their names, respect their existence, do some research and learn interesting hidden secrets.

Some cities may also plant trees along certain roads, and most have a couple parks. Parks can be an oasis. Visit at least once a week, spend time alone or with loved ones. Take photos of interesting leaves, hunt around for bugs, bring some bird seed to feed your local fowl.

Some cities and urban areas have community gardens which are a prime opportunity to feel productive and in touch with nature. Making friendships with likeminded people in eco-activism and gardening initiatives can further enrich your life and get you active in your community in ways you feel good about. Your city is alive, pulsing with life, it’s our job to find it and help it thrive.

Watch the squirrels, rats, raccoons, and pigeons go about their lives with kindness and curiosity. Report injured animals to wildlife rehabilitation centres. Educate yourself and the people around you about the animals you share your space with. Does this mean let your apartment become overrun with mice? No, but be proactive in avoiding infestations and investigate environmentally friendly, humane means of dealing with pests.

Consider bringing nature into your home in other ways. There’s no such thing as a green thumb and you don’t need to be a horticulturalist to raise houseplants, merely willingness to learn about their needs. Succulents are a perfect beginner plant for new plant owners as they require very little watering or maintenance. They’re often best for bright windows, but there are options for lowlight spaces such as snake plants which are also succulent.

Another option with more responsibility would be taking care of an animal. While some people’s ethics don’t align with pet keeping, I believe so long as an animal isn’t wild caught and isn’t from a breeder, preferably rescued or rehomed, we are morally uplifted by providing an animal with a nurturing home in the face of abandonment and animal abuse. If you can provide for a dog, cat, fish, or small animal, and your living situation allows for it, then this can be a way for you to feel connected to the world by bonding with another species.

There are countless ways to engage with nature in the city. Energy is all around us, life resilient. Cities have their novel appeal, especially to country folk such as myself, but even city born and bred can find themselves feeling their environment is cold and empty eventually. Feeling disconnected, lost in a crowd of people, we want to find our way back so something bright and peaceful. We can find it.

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