11
Mar

Action of the Month of March: Spend Time Outdoors

Take a moment and try to remember the last time you looked up at the stars.

This comic is a reminder of how spending time in nature helps us reconnect with ourselves, with those around us and with the planet.

This month, Équiterre is encouraging you to spend time outdoors and reconnect with nature. We often talk about protecting the environment for human survival, but it’s also very much about respecting nature, the environment where we live and everything else that lives in it.

https://equiterre.org/sites/fichiers/images/calvinhobbes_690x330.png

Whether you’re planning for the upcoming spring break, your summer holidays or for your kids’ summer camps, here’s some food for thought:

  • the benefits of spending time outdoors, for you and for the planet
  • what you can do to make the outdoors more accessible
  • ideas of activities

BENEFITS OF BEING OUTDOORS

Being in nature often gives us the chance to focus on what really matters. We escape the distractions of everyday city life – the screens, the noises and the crowds. We awaken our senses and become more aware of smells, sights, sounds and textures. We connect with the people we’re with, and often feel closer to them and to the plants, trees and wildlife around us. It gives us the chance to step back and question our hectic lifestyles and our purchasing habits, to take on a challenge, release some energy and to feel SO much better!

But most of all, it gives us the chance to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. Appreciating and loving our environment and our planet gives us the motivation to protect and preserve it.

Among the physical and psychological benefits of the great outdoors, it:

  • Increases your empathy for nature and for others (develops values such as helping one another, sharing and perseverance)
  • Provides an opportunity to practice zero waste living/leave-no-trace principles;
  • Improves your mood and relieves anxiety, stress and depression
  • Improves your concentration and reduces symptoms of attention deficit disorder
  • Gives you energy (like a dose of adrenaline) and improves your sleep. Think about how well your energetic kids sleep after spending time outside!
  • Teaches us about biodiversity (plant and animal life) and provides an opportunity to appreciate natural phenomena and explore some concepts of biology and physics
  • Helps with children’s motor skills and cognitive development as they discover their limits. Can I climb this tree? Can I get over this log? What can I do with this branch?
  • Fosters creativity and autonomy
  • Improves awareness and self-esteem
  • Improves fitness without having to go to the gym

© Crédit photo Odyssée Aventures

OUR FOUR FABULOUS SEASONS MUST BE PROTECTED

A former colleague and well-known environmentalist had some snowshoes in his office that were given to him by a First Nations member, who said he hoped that we’d still be able to use them in the future.

Canada is warming up faster than most parts of the world, especially in the Far North and the West. This warming has been more pronounced in winter and spring (Climate Reality Project). In Quebec, climate change is not only causing heatwaves, which we’re having to get used to, it’s also affecting the ski season. In 2050 it may be 10 to 20 days shorter with conditions that will vary more significantly than they do today (Ouranos). Did you read the article about Ouranos’s research this week: “Comment les stations de ski vont devoir s’adapter aux changements climatiques [How ski resorts will have to adapt to climate change]?

Fighting against climate change helps to protect our beautiful seasons, which will allow us to continue to enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities. We recommend reading “Why Can’t Rich People Save Winter?,” a New York Times article about the future of winter sports (outlook, solutions, green initiatives). Protect Our Winters Canada (POW Canada), an organization striving to unite the outdoor sports community in Canada to take action against climate change, is another great resource.

When we protect our climate, we’re protecting our seasons too!

© Crédit photo Instagram @camille_raynauld

THE OUTDOORS CAN BE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE!

Tempted to spend more time outdoors, but something always gets in the way?

Here are some environmentally-friendly tips to help make the outdoors more accessible:

Transportation: It’s true that getting into nature involves travel. Instead of driving solo, we encourage you to explore eco-friendly options like carpooling (with friends, Facebook platforms or Kangaride ski, for instance), car sharing and shuttles to get to outdoor destination.

Equipment: You can rent outdoor gear in national parks and at outdoor centres and from stores like Mountain Equipment Co-op. And you can buy used gear on Kijiji and the Facebook group Vente et achat de matériel de plein air.

Safety: It’s always best to inquire about activities suited to your level, the temperature and your interests at park interpretation centres. Many guided activities are offered for all interests, levels and ages!

IDEAS OF ACTIVITIES

© Crédit photo Instagram @ti_mousse_dans_brousse

© Crédit photo Odyssée Aventures

INSPIRING INITIATIVES

Odyssée Aventures : Projects to make the outdoors accessible to young people (mainly adolescents) from disadvantaged backgrounds and / or with special needs

Jeunes en sentier par Rando Québec (Fédération de la marche du Québec) : The purpose of the  program is to promote access to hiking and snowshoeing among young people.

© Crédit photo Odyssée Aventures

TO FIND INSPIRATION

Instagram Accounts

Magazines

Videos

© Crédit photo ©Expédition AKOR

Posted 28 Feb 2019

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Des écoles vertes, pour un avenir vert

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