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The Power of Reverence for the Natural World

6th October 2022

“There are always flowers for those who wish to see them”. 

(Henri Matisse) 


HOM: Responding with awe and wonderment 

The National Trust quite recently published a document called ‘Noticing Nature’. One of their key findings was that for many people nature is no longer an integral part of their life. Just 19% of children regularly notice wildlife and over a period of a year 57% of adults rarely or never watched the sunrise and only 27% frequently watched clouds. Listening to birdsong and looking at the stars are things humans have been doing since the dawn of time and these activities are free.  

The report also uncovered a powerful link between nature and both happiness and feeling life is worthwhile. Nature connectedness and ‘noticing nature’ has a significant impact on people’s wellbeing, both physical and mental. In fact it was found that the most ‘nature connected’ (the top 25%) had mean scores for general health that were 9% higher than the rest of the adult population. 

The report says, ‘According to our research, such moments are a defining factor when it comes to taking pro-nature conservation action. Noticing nature in small, everyday ways could lead to radical results We’ve found that ‘noticing nature’ and ‘nature connectedness’ are strongly linked to people taking conservation action.’ Therefore by reconnecting on a daily basis we could be laying the foundations for the very survival of our planet. We are less likely to destroy that which we love and to which we feel connection. 

People taking conservation action are more likely to be ‘noticing nature’ than they are to be studying it. They’re not necessarily going on big outdoor adventures, but they are enjoying simple moments with the natural world and showing a certain reverence toward it. 

The Henri Matisse quotation might of course be understood more symbolically as a commentary of the way we perceive life overall. We can become overwhelmed by anxiety and no longer open our eyes to see to the positive in our lives. And then the words of Jesus from Matthews’s gospel come to mind;  

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these.… (Matthew 6:28-29) 

The power of reverence for the natural world is that it can help us gain a new perspective on our own lives and the world around us. So this Autumn, at a time when we are also thankful for the harvest, we need to pull on our wellies or walking boots, get out there and start noticing, whatever the weather!  


Christine Crossley