Freelance Photographer & Journalist.

2020

The way forward.

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Connecting with nature.

Undoubtedly there are those who find environmental issues a bore. The mere mention of climate change will cause them to glaze over and carry on, safe in the knowledge that science will save us. That or climate change was all made up anyway. But for many (myself included) I'm convinced that the planet is facing the most crucial and potentially catastrophic period of change it has ever faced. I won't list all of the ills that are befalling our world, you've undoubtedly heard them all before. Suffice to say that the future looks bleak for all of us - regardless of how much money you have!

So what has this got to do with mindfulness you might ask, let alone with the website of a photographer? Well, it is my opinion that those of us who enjoy and value the world share more than a common passion. It is accepted that there is a direct link between nature and good mental and physical health. And that it's this link may also be the foundation on which we can build to safeguard our world.

It was only a few years ago that the UK government published a study by Natural England that said that 'taking part in nature-based activities helps those suffering from mental health problems like depression, anxiety and stress.' In it, the phrase "green care" was used to describe the benefits, and since then, the 'natural health service' has grown in popularity. 

And it's not just one study. The University of Exeter published a paper in 2017 on research carried out with the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Queensland. They found that people who live in areas alongside birds, trees and shrubs are less likely to suffer many mental health problems.

Recently people have also seen that there are ways to build on these recognised benefits. They do this by linking with the practice of mindfulness (the meditative discipline that focuses on an awareness) with a connection with your surroundings at a given moment in time. And it would seem it has gained in popularity helping those who want to, use the method to focus on an awareness of the present moment and environment. This may sound simple, but the idea is to do this while accepting those feelings, sensations and thoughts can come and go in the mind while meditating.

Many of us see the desire to get closer to nature and to enjoy the natural world, as a way to unwind and to relax. Increased awareness and appreciation of nature can only help to underline the importance of safeguarding our environment, and this is where these two threads weave together.

For many years I've been concerned about what we are doing to our planet, and I'm just as guilty of as anyone else. Having practised mindfulness, and having become more aware of the activism of many people in trying to save the planet, I am now doing as much as I can to 'do my bit'. So, although I still have to travel around to cover assignments, I carbon offset my fuel use. I've reduced meat consumption, the use of plastics, only use of green power suppliers and support campaigns and organisations who fight to overcome the climate catastrophe. 

2020 is the year I've committed to these principals (but in reality, I was doing many of these things long before) but the new decade will also see me try to use my photography to highlight issues - good and bad. Sadly I can't change the world, but I will do whatever I can to save it for future generations.

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Maybe not his best angle!

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