Nature is a tonic. That’s not without challenges.
By Craig Anderson
March 10, 2021
Nature – in pullout vistas on the roadside, grand state and regional parks and smaller nature preserves, beaches and trails, even small neighborhood stands of oak – has been nothing during the pandemic if not a tonic for all people. Weary parents and ‘virtually-exhausted’ students, dogs needing a chance to run, and people of all ages and backgrounds drawn to escape the confines of the indoors – yes, and to escape screens – a demand like we’ve never before seen in our lifetimes.
For those of us that consider the hills, farmland, creeks and giant ocean horizon as the primary foundation that defines the beauty and character of our home region, this is not surprising by any stretch. Moreover, it’s a validating testament to who we are as humans. It’s our true nature, and our region’s people are drawn to it. At the same time, the increase in people seeking to reweave a connection with nature has resulted in challenges throughout the Bay Area. Full parking lots, more cars and bikes on the road, and overflowing trash cans all point to an increased need to experience our shared nature. The response from those who live in these areas has spanned everything from delight and welcome or mild frustration to out-and-out-anger at the eruption of visitors from other places.
Everyone has a right to access nature
In the midst of this tension, I was struck by the integrity and insight of Together Bay Area’s Annie Burke when she said recently, “We need to have the courage and strength to stand up for our fellow humans and their right to safely access and wholeheartedly connect with the natural world. For their sake, and for the planet’s sake.”
Those privileged enough to have nature right outside, at their very backdoor, have experienced an influx of those that don’t live with nearby fern and fox, without redwoods nor flowing water within earshot, as they seek the trails and postage stamp vista points on both weekend and week day. Truly, though, we must find a means to provide visitors this tonic of wildness now and after the pandemic, and us visitors need pay heed to drive slowly, to pick up after ourselves and be the good neighbors we want others to be to us.
Are you willing to say, “Challenge accepted?”
Craig Anderson, Executive Director
" Nature – in pullout vistas on the roadside, grand state and regional parks and smaller nature preserves, beaches and trails, even small neighborhood stands of oak - has been nothing during the pandemic if not a tonic for all people. "