Environmental activist removes language barriers to connect with nature

Firas Abd-Alhadi understands the power experiencing nature can have on conservation initiatives.

In his region, West Asia, where resource and water scarcity are a reality, Firas sees first-hand the disconnect people have with nature. He says, “resources are being exploited and aren’t being replenished”.

“We aren’t aware of ecosystems and that they are unable to sustain themselves if we only see them as a provider,” says Firas, who manages a human development training company and is also an environmental and communications consultant. “We need to treat nature as a living being rather than an enterprise, something that needs to be nurtured and cherished rather than merely exploited. Only then nature would reward us and return the love we give in the form of economic, social and emotional benefits with boundless abundance.”

That’s one of the reasons he got involved with the IUCN Commission on Education and Communications in 2012, and why he volunteered his time to translate the document “Connecting with Nature to Care for Ourselves and the Earth: Recommendations for Decision Makers” into Arabic, now also available on the #NatureForAll Discovery Zone.

The document, developed by #NatureForAll partner The Children & Nature Network, provides a synthesis of evidence linking connectedness with nature to pro-conservation behaviours.

“Translating this document is a way for me to try to reach people in my region with such a solid evidence-based case for the benefits of bringing people back to nature. This is something that we need,” he says. “The document encourages us to do things in a natural setting. It doesn’t have to be in a wood, or by a river, but something that can be done even in an urban setting, in a public park, in an office, in a house. It is for everyone.”

Firas says #NatureForAll is an important initiative that can help re-establish our relationship with nature.

“We are unaware that we need to better connect with nature. #NatureForAll goes beyond certain biases in seeing nature as a source of resources to be kept alive for us, but one that should be alive for its own sake which in turn is also for our sake. #NatureForAll brings you further and looks at a direct connection with nature.”

“It won’t be easy to reconnect, but it’s important and possible,” says Firas. “I know we have to balance our needs for resources, but it should be done along with nature conservation. #NatureForAll provides solutions for this balance.”



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