In North America, we spend roughly 95% of our day either indoors or in our vehicles. Children are averaging 6 hours a day in front of television, computers, tablets, etc. Most of our time as human beings was spent outside in nature before the modern era and as a result, we are physically connected to nature. Recent studies have proved what we’ve known for generations: taking a walk outside when you’re stressed, depressed, or upset will make you feel better. These studies have proven that time in nature causes electrochemical changes in the brain that lead people to enter a highly beneficial state of “effortless attention,” where our attention spans are increased, stress is reduced, relaxation comes easier, and creativity is boosted by nearly 50%.
How much time do you spend outside each day?
The state of Wisconsin has recognized this; the city of Oconomowoc has recognized this and they have decided to try and promote an increase in Wisconsinites’ presence in nature this summer. This morning I attended a morning Business-Over-Breakfast Series presented by the Oconomowoc Chamber’s Green Business Initiative, where the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance (WGBA) unveiled their new state-wide initiative for businesses, individuals, and groups: 30×30 Nature Challenge. taking place June 1 – June 30th this summer.
The challenge actually originated in Canada 3 years ago, but seeing as how our lovely state is so close to the Canadian border, it was only a matter of time before it meandered down to us. In Wisconsin, our challenge is taking place from June 1 – June 30th this summer. Other states, businesses, or individuals participating outside of Wisconsin are doing so during the month of May, but to have a higher chance of nicer weather, Wisconsin decided to wait a month and participate in June.
The idea is simple: spend 30 minutes each day, for 30 days in a row (no skipping any days!) in nature without any type of technology. And by in nature, it means to be engaged in nature: get outside and take the time to notice and connect with the living things around you, so even if you live in an urban setting, you can use the limited natural areas around you to your advantage (as long as you are connecting to nature).
On their website, the Oconomowoc Chamber has provided a plethora of materials for those participating in the challenge- a free toolkit, website badge to promote your participation, ideas of different ways to get engaged throughout the month (coming up with ideas won’t be easier on a cold, cloudy, rainy Wisconsin day and you may find yourself needing this help!), and a poster to publish in your business’ break room or anywhere else to promote the event. Many nature centers throughout the state and different city parks are participating and providing events to those interested. Moreover, there’s going to be a weekly photo contest with a different theme each week, giving participants a chance to win prizes and different individuals and businesses participating will be keeping a daily blog of their experiences.
Are you up for the challenge?
Your Next Steps:
LIKE the WGBA on Facebook
Follow the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance on twitter (@WIGreenBuilding)
- Tweet about it yourself- the more the merrier! #WGBA30x30
- Register and download materials for the challenge
- Follow the UWsustainability blog to get more materials and ideas (you can do so in the comments below). UWsustainability will be blogging about our experiences throughout the month and providing you our own ideas, incites, and experiences about the challenge.
Check out the video below to learn a bit more about the challenge: