A new documentary, Love Thy Nature directed by Sylvie Rokab, presents the premise that in order to tackle the problems facing the environment, we need to reactivate our individual and collective connection to nature. The film draws connections between sensory overload, unhealthy foods, and windowless work spaces to disease, lower IQs in children, and depression. It promotes the goal of building nature into everyday experiences — from places of learning and work to hospitals and homes.
Combining visceral cinematography with thoughtful interviews, Rokab offers the voice of Liam Neeson as the representative of Homo sapiens.
Beginning with lush and verdant scenes accompanied by the sounds of rushing waters and birds, Rokab cuts to the hectic pace of modern urban life. As Neeson reflects on the degree of wisdom possessed by Homo sapiens, scenes of trash dumps, oil soaked birds, and industrial factories flash by.
Love Thy Nature compares the philosophies of Indigenous Peoples and of Eastern religions with the Judeo-Christian tract from the Old Testament, the latter which gives man “dominion” over the earth and all its species. In context of this patriarchal mindset, one can understand the trajectory to attitudes which have put profits first, given us fracking, mountaintop coal mining, and factory farming.
Love Thy Nature director, Sylvie Rokab shared some insights with me:
Your film is a visual celebration of nature. What are your goals for Love Thy Nature?
My mission is to create a nature-connecting movement for two reasons. A relationship with nature makes us healthier, happier, more connected, and more alive human beings. Secondly, there is only one way that a society can make environmentalism its normal mindset. That is when its people have an intimate relationship with nature. We only protect what we love.
What do you think it will take for elected leaders to show the political will to make substantive changes?
The most effective way to have our leaders enact change is by having people use their voices. (Tweet this) The more we educate our communities about the dangers we face, especially with climate change, the more people will pressure their leaders to take much needed action.
There is a strong emphasis on children getting an early introduction to nature. How do you believe that we can accomplish that as a society?
It starts at home. Families need to include nature in their calendars. As a species of this planet, we are wired to want to explore, discover, and wonder at a very young age.
Schools need to offer at least one [science] class outdoors, not just in labs. Recess is critical, as play is essential for a child’s development.
Several ecological schools are now having kids plant organic gardens, so that instead of having heavily processed fast food meals, children eat organic vegetables and fruit from their own gardens. All schools and universities need to include outdoor education programs.
We need to unleash our kids and let them come alive!
Photo courtesy of Love Thy Nature