How to Love Nature When You Live in the City – Tip #4

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I once took a picture of my second son when he was 18 months old. He was cute as you like in a blue boy jumper, diaper and dirt. He had been “makin’ pies Daddy” and showed me his fingers that were covered in mud.

He was, quite literally, touching the earth – feeling, smelling and tasting nature.

No matter that there were millions of bacteria, fungi and any number of tiny critters in the mud. They all went in to give his growing immune system a great workout and it came out stronger for the experience.


We are very well equipped against microscopic nature. Our immune systems are complex and learn to be efficient in rooting out most foreign bodies that make their way inside of us. 

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Nearly fifteen years has passed. My son no longer eats dirt and other than grubbing about on the sports field, he doesn’t much touch the earth. Along with most western kids his age, he lives in a city, walks on pavers, is ferried around in a car on tarmac roads, and shuffles around a home well covered with carpet. He has lost that primal contact with nature.

This is a familiar story for most of us. We have early memories of being natural, touching and feeling nature. We were not afraid of it as some great intuition held us close to it. Sometimes we still feel it a little; perhaps when we stand overlooking the ocean or as we stare up at the night sky. But these are fleeting as we mostly keep nature at bay. After all we prefer to be warm, dry and safe – inside.

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This loss of contact was inevitable really. Modern lifestyles preclude anything else.

Yet we benefit so much from finding that connection, rekindling our taste for the earth. In parts of Africa expectant mothers seek out the soil in termite mounds and eat it for the important trace nutrients. I am not suggesting we all go out and eat soil but to remember what it was like to be that close to the earth is a good thing for all of us.

So Tip #4 for ‘How to love nature when you live in the city’ is make time to 

Touch the earth

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Here are some ways to do it:

  1. Take up gardening and sometimes do the weeding without gloves.
  2. If you are still young enough to participate in a sport played on grass, go do it. Only make sure you put your hand on the soil at some point in the game.
  3. Go on a farm stay holiday
  4. Just go outside, find a patch of bare ground, kneel down and run the soil through your fingers

Follow this tip once in a while and you will feel better.



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