Some ideas for improving access to nature connection if you or someone you are close to has an illness or disability, meaning they find it difficult to be outdoors.
Studies over the last few years have consistently demonstrated that being in nature is beneficial for both our physical and emotional health. From my own observations, I would also add that for many people connecting with the other living parts of Earth also brings increased levels of wellbeing to both the spiritual and social aspects of our lives too.
In my work as a palliative care nurse and as an unpaid Carer of several family members I have witnessed many instances where being able to be creative about how to connect with nature can positively influence the quality of life for people who are too unwell or disabled spend time outside on a regular basis. Over the past year I have become very unwell and currently spend most of my time in bed. This has given me a great opportunity to reflect further about how poorly and disabled people who for whatever reasons find being outside challenging, can benefit from nature connection.
These are some of the ideas I have collated. Most of which I use in my own life too.
Being aware of any sadness, grief or loss you feel about not being able to connect with nature outdoors. Even just reading this short article may generate difficult emotions. And that’s ok. I’ve found that talking it through with someone close to you or writing, drawing or any other creative expression can really help, as do other ideas mentioned here.
As well as hopefully providing some useful ideas relating to nature connection and immersion, an additional function of this article is to inspire further discussion about the urgent need for permaculture practitioners to address issues of privilege in accessing permaculture.
There are a huge diverse number of resources relating to the ideas I have written about in this article. If you need some extra inspiration or a starting point. Here are some of my current favourites.
Dave Jackson Aromatherapist
Writing by Flo Scott – Flo has written a number of articles in Permaculture Magazine and also has her own blog at http://permaculturedesigner.co.uk – In particular check out Flo’s most recent post “Top 5 things to do in an Indoor Garden”
BBC Radio programmes – all of the following are available as podcasts (or on iplayer for those in the UK)
Gardeners Question Time
Tweet Of the Week
Alice Fowler’s regular column in The Guardian newspaper
Plus books and YouTube films by Alys
Permaculture Magazine – available via paper or digital subscription plus lots of free content
Lots of fantastic books at Green Shopping
One of my current favourite books from Green Shopping, including many, many gorgeous photos, is No Dig Organic Home and Garden by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty
‘She Explores’ podcast
Facebook Group - I have recently created a Facebook Group ”Permaculture, Chronic illness and Disability” for anyone with an interest in the topic to join. There is already a very friendly and solutions focused culture emerging there, so please come along and join in if you are interested.
Be inspired and educated today, listen to the voice and truth of Brandi Mack .
I had the privilege of meeting Brandi and sharing time on the Earth Activist Training Jan 2013 with her. Brandi and her work has had a profound effect on my own permaculture work and life meaning, and I have so much gratitude to her. This interview with her on the Women's Leadership in Permaculture Forum is incredibly powerful, healing, and so many of her words I know, are going to be further guiding my work and life.
"If we cannot look at this trauma, open it up, cry about it and then create some solutions around it, then we've lost the mark...we are missing out because we are not willing to be uncomfortable ....move out the way of a project and look at the people....I want to see the women leading it (permaculture) more, and it being ok"
#empoweringwomenandgirls #socialpermaculture #blackurbanfarming #decolonisation #blacklivesmatter #womenleaders #regeneratingcommunities #permacultureinspiration #healingagriculture #liberationpermaculture
Ive just finished reading People and Permaculture by Looby Macnamara - or should I say re-reading, its actually the 3rd read for me!. I initially read P&P from cover to cover when it was first published, (helpfully as I commenced my Diploma!), and then used various parts of it throughout the designs created for my portfolio. Reading it again in its entirety, a few pages each day, including journaling the suggested activities as I finished my Diploma has been really useful. P&P is one of those books that the more you read and use it, the more you gain from it. But in addition it made me realise how much I had developed and matured as a designer and practitioner throughout my Diploma journey. Alongside reading Looby's latest book 7 Ways to Think Differently, Ive spent time in the last few weeks identifying areas of ‘people care' and ‘social permaculture’ that I would now like to explore further in my design work . Aspects of these very much connect and Edge with the exciting Liberation Permaculture ideas, currently evolving within work undertaken by Nicole Vosper and Graham Burnett in the UK. (Spookily as I write this I’ve just received a questionnaire from Graham inviting me to engage further in the dialogue around Liberation and Permaculture!). I’ve also just signed up to attend thePeople and Permaculture Facilitators Training led by Looby and Peter Cow at Ragmans Lane Farm later this month, which is hopefully going to be a great step in taking my practice to a greater depth.
There are lots of reviews about People and Permaculture out there, and I’m not going to attempt another one here, only to say that its definitely one of the key resources I recommend for any one wanting to learn more about permaculture, and/or wanting to look at personal development design.
Many reviews have been left on Amazon and there is a great one at Permaculture Magazine. If you decide to buy a copy of either People and Permaculture or 7 Ways to Think Differently then you can order them directly from Looby or support the fab work of independent publisher Permanent Publications by purchasing through Green Shopping.
Designs in my Diploma in Permaculture Design portfolio using The Design Web, the framework at the core of People and Permaculture, are
Action Learning Pathway
Journey to Spain
regular updates and reflections about the permaculture designs in my life