Our Precious Natural Environment

I have always loved nature and the outdoors, the clean fresh air, the plant and animal life. There are so many enjoyable things to do in this beautiful scenic environment and so much of it is free and waiting.

As a city kid in summer I would head out of town on many Saturday mornings on my bicycle with my school buddy. After two days of fly fishing we would return Sunday evening tired, hungry and laughing all the way back into town and home and food.

In the winter many evenings were spent skating or playing hockey on the outdoor rinks and on most weekends we were skiing. We would take the first bus out to the ski hill and the last one back. I recollect that on these return trips we were very tired and happy as everyone on the bus was singing.

These were the most memorable, healthy and fun times.

My first summer jobs were in drilling camps on remote lakes in Northern Canada searching for ore bodies. These temporary 'homesteads' consisted of tents and were accessible by float plane only. Wild life was abundant and we were reminded of it daily with squirrels always present around the cookhouse, and bears less regularly. I can hear the fish jumping at dusk and the howl of wolves far down the lake late into the night.

I would later work in the mining industry full time and help raise our family in several small towns across the country and deep in natural forests. Without the fever pitch of city living there was much time for hikes, lakeside picnics, swimming and gardening, and the outdoor winter sports.

Memories of these delightful experiences in the back country stay with one forever. They are such good memories, the kind that stick and leave you feeling good for the long haul.

In the autumn of my life my trips to nature now consist mostly of walking or cycling through parks, forest trails and strolling the beaches here on the Canadian Pacific coast. There is also the occasional camping and fishing with Son and Grandson. Nature is still so enjoyable after all these years.

Perhaps you don't have the time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Well if you have reasonable good income and fair health a review of your lifestyle might be considered. It is normal to want better lives for ourselves and our families, but what is a better life? Shouldn't we balance our goals and achievements with the cost? How much does that promotion, vacation, new purchase, cost in terms of real life? How many extra hours of stress and anxiety, now and later, go into getting it? What are we missing in the meantime?

Perhaps these wholesome and uncomplicated pleasures do not seem easily accessible to you. But take a closer look around. Go for a walk in the park, look for, hear, and smell the many things that Mother Nature has there for your appreciation. Take notice of the flowers, trees, birds, an insect crossing the sidewalk or kids playing in the snow. Look up at the cloud formations and at evening time the moon and stars.

Nature is all around in some form and waiting for our pleasures. The outdoors belong to the people of the world, and with all its vast and lovely resources is a most precious thing that needs to be cared for to the best of our ability.

In having a true appreciation for this beautiful wonder it is easy to understand the current worried talk about the environment. There has been a general shrinking in the purity and extent of our natural resources and an increasing accumulation of garbage and pollution going on for a long time.

It is so important that we all pay particular attention to what is happening and get involved in reducing waste and excesses in our consumption. Let's discuss nature's future and get our kids on the right path; to enjoy and preserve that which is under continuing assault in this great marketing-consumption era. Children are naturally interested in the forest, gardens and beaches, and especially so if they have the opportunity to experience this regularly with their parents.

"There is however, a true music of nature - the song of the birds, the whisper of leaves, the ripple of waters upon a sandy shore, the wail of wind or sea." - John Lubbock (1834-1913)

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