Positive about nature

A nature walk should be uplifting, but it devolves into hell-in-a-hand basket thinking too often these days. I toured a garden-of-paradise in Kauai with a guide who raged continually about our forefathers. This soured me on nature guides for a while, but I took a chance on a recent trip to New Zealand. I was richly rewarded with a guide who was happy to describe his ecosystem, even as he explained its challenges. He even discussed logging without spewing hate.

Now, you may think hate is the appropriate response to loggers, so let me tell you more about my guide in Hawaii. He eased his bitterness with Scotch, a fact inserted proudly into his rants on the evils of our society. Cloaking bitterness with save-the-world verbiage may sound sophisticated but it doesn’t help anyone. You might do the world more good by resolving your bitterness.

Perhaps my kiwi guide was more positive because he was doing something useful- he was building sanctuaries for indigenous birds. This involved setting traps for mammals who eat birds, and bringing his young son to help empty the traps. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can find myriad ways to feel good about the future.

My Hawaii experience taught me to speak up when I feel overloaded by the hostility of others. So when the subject of logging New Zealand came up for the third time, I mentioned that our ancestors struggled to survive, and we are lucky to be in a position to do more. I left feeling positive about nature walks. I will help conserve nature when I can, but I will not confuse anger with help.

About the Author: Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD is founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, which helps people re-wire their brain chemistry naturally. InnerMammalInstitute.org She’s the author of Meet Your Happy Chemicals, Beyond Cynical, and I, Mammal. Dr. Breuning is Professor Emerita of Management at California State University, East Bay.

‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’


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