Over the weekend I saw the Disney movie Encanto with my family. It made me think a little more about how everyone has their own struggles they deal with no matter how perfect their life may seem. It also inspired me to realize that we all have gifts that we can contribute even if they seem insignificant at times.
The natural world is just one part of our complex community, and it has so many gifts to give us. There are so many issues that people within Cuyahoga County (and beyond) deal with that seem more significant - hunger, crime, unemployment, etc. We often take nature for granted (as a mom I can relate – my children often take me for granted too).
A tree or stream may seem insignificant in comparison but, if you look closely, our world is interdependent on nature. No matter how hard we try to manipulate the landscape, our survival really depends on it.
Nature gives us….
Oxygen to breathe – through trees – trees give off oxygen
Improved air quality – through trees and vegetation – taking in carbon dioxide (what we exhale) and absorb many air pollutants.
Cooling effects – Providing shade on a hot day
Absorbing rainwater – through vegetation - soaking it up before it hits the ground and soaking it up from the ground (through extensive root systems).
Flood management – through wetlands that soak up water
Mental Health – providing us an escape from stress, calmness, and joy. It can even facilitate concentration.
Improved health – provides us a place to be more active – hike, bike, or walk.
There are so many more benefits…my list could go on and on. We need to start thinking about nature as a significant part of our community and use the gifts it gives us to help solve our problems. Nature is giving, lets be grateful, protect it, grow it and use it for good!
Blog Author: Carla Regener, Natural Resources Program Manager