Do You Commune with Nature?

President Joe Biden is heading to Glasgow, Scotland, to attend the COP 26 climate summit over the next few days. He had hoped to share concrete legislative commitments and underscore his successful determination for the US to confront the climate crisis. Many of these policy ideas and investments focus on the expansion of renewable energy and the preparation of the country’s infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions, motivate a transition away from fossil fuels and adapt to increasingly extreme climate and weather conditions.

Yet while Biden struggles to ensure support from a majority, the challenge also persists to increase attention on the existential threat of climate change—from elected officials and the general public. In my view, that requires awakening or reawakening the sense of connection to the natural world and to our shared responsibility to limit environmental degradation and over-consumption of resources. That also means increasing a sense of empathy about the climate-related changes happening around the world and expanding the desire to do something.

When I was a young boy, living outside Chicago, I reveled in watching lighting and thunder storms. I relished the chance to hike in woods or sit by a river and watch the water trickle or rush by. I still do—particularly the opportunity nature gives to quiet down and listen. (The thought of some of those places disappearing due to drought or burned in wildfires is deeply upsetting.) What about you? Do you commune with nature? Where do you do it? And how does that chance to slow down affect your sense of connection?

As always, I look forward to reading your experiences and insights—and for the chance for this community to learn from each other.

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Photo: Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, Arizona. Photo by Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images.