By Tobias Simonsen, TeachSDGs Ambassador
For me, nature is fundamental for all living cities, and I believe that nature has a great impact on how we are raising our children and the way we behave to each other.
When I walk through Copenhagen, I get a bit worried if we have forgotten where we come from. Clearly stressed, are we using energy drinks and cigarettes, instead of going for a walk at the harbor or run in the forest?
I grew up in a house with garden where my mother had to wash my dirty clothes each day. I was allowed to climb the tallest trees, and where my friends’ parents were yelling “Be careful!" my parents had the opinion that if I could get up there, I could also get down again. That meant, that I had to wear long sleeves to cover all my bruises so my teachers did not think I was mistreated at home.
Nature is teaching us to take responsibility and that all actions have consequences. Nature has formed my physics. Nature has sent me on so many adventures, and it has given me tools to be curious about the world around me.
Today, I see that we are more focused on creating the perfect formula for raising our children to have perfect careers instead of concentrating on the world in which we are part of. And, I know that times are changing with e-sports and social media, but in order to be ready for the challenges ahead is it crucial to be close to our roots.
And nature can help us with that.
Today, children spend only half as much time in nature as our grandparents did when they were kids. That is a frightening development; did we really reduce our use of nature to bike to work or attend festivals?
In nature, there are no winners or losers. There are no defined frames for what is wrong and what is right, and there are no boxes to fit in - which is totally opposite of our increased focus on performance and efficiency, instead of time and respect for individual needs.
We are planning our cities in the same way – rigorous and efficient. We are creating green areas by inserting grass and ornamental trees. I believe we must be reminded about our connection to the nature all through our lives. I would therefore love to see fruit trees and wild nature areas in the cities with space for biodiversity as supplement to the grass fields. I have, as an example, learned so much about not breaking the sticks where fruit are supposed to grow on.
I dream about a city where we take responsibility for each other -- for each other’s health. Where we meet each other instead of texting each other. A city where we are creating individual humans instead of creating humans to fit certain boxes.
There is so much we can learn from nature. Nature is for everybody, regardless if you are biking to work or playing football in the park. Nature is forming us and giving us strength all through our lives.
I believe we as educators are playing a fundamental role in giving the beauty and practicalities of the nature on to our students.
Therefore dear educator, next time you want an energy drink, please consider going for a walk in the forest instead 😉
TeachSDGs Team & Contributors