Our latest Minding Nature features Jenny Ringland: co-founder and director of Green + Simple, a sustainable living platform founded on the philosophy that the greatest change you can make is to start. Read on to learn more about her deep connection with nature and see why her way of life inspires us so much.
What’s your favourite thing to do in nature?
I think my favourite thing to do in nature, is to be in nature! I don’t mind what it is. I love dips in the ocean, coastal walks, picnics in the park, hikes, just being outside makes everything seem OK. During lockdown, I discovered winter / cold water ocean swimming—something I would never have considered before, because it’s freezing, but it’s so invigorating. I’m a winter swimmer for life now.
Describe your connection to nature: what positives does it bring to your life?
Being in nature makes me feel grounded. I’ve instinctively always been drawn to walks in nature when I’ve ever felt stressed or overwhelmed, and in recent times, I have come to realise how interconnected we are with nature. We are inherently part of nature—even when we live in the city—and it’s up to us to consciously acknowledge that connection, I think. I love being near the ocean and appreciating how different it is each day or noticing new flowers on my walking route. Taking the time to appreciate its beauty, its power has a profound effect on me.
What are your fondest memories of spending time in nature?
I grew up on a farm in central western NSW, and my fondest memories are of time spent there. Picnics by the river, long horse rides through the bush, evening walks with my family. I am sure all the time we spent outdoors laid the framework for the appreciation I have for nature as an adult, even though I took it for granted back then.
Many of us are time-poor, and might not get out into nature as much as we’d like. Any suggestions for a quick nature-based pick-me up? Something sensory, experiential…?
I think it’s possible to connect with nature just by going outside. I have had moments of appreciation, bare feet on the grass, hanging the washing on the line. I think it’s less about where you are, or the length of time, and more about trying to be in the moment. It might be sitting on your front steps and listening to the birds, or taking a walk around the block and taking in the flowers in your neighbour’s garden, or watching the clouds move in the sky. It’s the little things for me.