Diane Ackerman, the author of the book Natural History of the senses, mentions that people often believe that the location of the mind is in the head. However, physiology’s latest finding suggests the mind does not dwell in the brain but travels the whole body. It happens on caravans on active enzymes making sense of the compound’s wonders: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and vision.
Dorothy Matthews and Susan Jenks conducted a study on the friendly Mycobacterium vaccae from the Sage College in New York. They found that these friendly bacteria play a significant role in learning in mammals. Creating an excellent outdoor learning environment in nature will significantly improve learning new tasks and essential life skills. The imagination that a nature-based trend in education will rival the explosion of high-tech virtual education is fundamental. It suggests that tapping in nature can gain a natural intellectual and creative advantage.
Time is also a factor in nature-based learning. The Deakin University School of Health and Social Development, Australia, issued the report “Healthy Parks, Healthy People.” The report suggests that City life is dominated by mechanical time in punctuality, deadlines, etc. Yet, the human body and mind are governed by biological time.
There is a conflict between biological and mechanical time.
A classic example is jet lag, which can lead to restlessness and insomnia. Taking another example familiar to folks living in cities in this time is ‘being couped’ at home and going about our daily routines mechanically confined to the four walls of our home. It can lead to irritability, depression, tensions, headaches, lethargy etc.
The experience of nature in a neurological sense can help strengthen the brain’s right hemisphere activities and restore harmony to the brain’s functionality as a whole. The report further explains that the technical term people use to process this is to walk to ‘clear the head’ or go outside to ‘get some air.’
The other aspect of mechanical time and nature deficit disorder is sky blindness. In India’s larger cities, while looking up to the sky at night, you will observe a dome of artificial light. The other word is ‘Stealing light’, coined by Jack Troeger, who taught earth sciences and astronomy. Jack initiated the ‘Dark Sky initiative’ by arguing that the overuse of artificial light is a waste of energy, disrupts sleeping and migration patterns of wildlife, and contributes to climate change. He mentions that the same stars we see today were observed by our ancestors in generations thousands of years ago. Stargazing is a bonding experience and is a fusing factor to all people who have lived on our planet as we are made of stars. The atoms that shape us were once the dust and gas of ancient stars. By being in nature, you get an opportunity to be in a space devoid of artificial light and realise the value of natural darkness as our biological clock counts on it.