Summer can be a really perfect time to reconnect with nature. Wardah Abbas provides tips for a fun-filled holiday during this season in the greenest ways
“It’s summer! No more School assignments for now, so we’ve got enough time for our premier league on play station.”
I saw the excitement on the face of my fourteen year-old cousin as he accompanied his friends who had come visiting, down the stairs. Having listened attentively to their conversation, I couldn’t help but conclude that as the world grows older, the more technologically advanced we become but unfortunately, it further widens the gap between nature and us.
I remember my days as a kid and also in my early adolescent years when, even though we had no idea of what eco-consciousness meant, our summer activities revolved around nature. We engaged ourselves in summer camps, picnics, sporting activities and lots more. We spent quality time running around at the beach barefoot and care free, building sand castles, catching fire flies and climbing trees. This reminiscence comes with a sweet nostalgia that makes me conscious of the sharp contrast between then and now when teenagers spend more time wrapped up in video games, social networking and computer programs. I must say it’s time for a big change.
Apart from the fact that when we green up our summer activities, we bring ourselves closer to nature which could earn us rewards from Allah (SWT) with the right intentions, it also boosts our physical and mental wellness. Here are just a few tips for enjoying a green summer:
1. ORGANISE REGULAR ACTIVE OUTINGS
You can initiate active outings with your family or a group of friends. This could either be a weekend picnic on a beach or in a park or a camping trip. You may also go on sensory walks, horse riding, hiking trips or make neighbourhood bike rides as well as explore some of the wildlife habitats around you. While doing this, you may seize the opportunity to make environmental videos, especially if you’re the type that cannot stand the thought of leaving your gadgets at home. This is a fun activity that puts your creativity, organisation and research skills to test. You may then edit the video and share with your family and friends.
While you’re out camping with your family and friends either in the woods or in a park, it would be fun to organise a treasure hunt by searching for some rare natural things and exploring more about nature. Prepare a checklist of insects, plants, birds, trees or flowers that you’ve hardly come across to keep you focussed. To make it more competitive, contribute to buying a gift for whoever amongst you wins the treasure hunt. Before you set out on this adventure, be sure to pack along sun glasses, water bottles, bug spray, video cameras as well as a small first-aid kit. Trust me, this can really make your summer more memorable than you’ve ever imagined.
3. ORGANISE FUN-FILLED OUTDOOR GAMES WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS
In case you do not get the opportunity to go on weekend camping or any other summer holiday activity of your choice, you still have outdoors as an option. Look out for a spacious field in your neighbourhood and invite your neighbours on a weekend for outdoor games organised by you. Try out activities such as skipping, table-tennis, freeze tags or shadow tags, base balls or kick balls, hide and seek, four square, kite flying and lots more. You may also inculcate environmental quizzes into this activity to add an intellectual flavour to it. Make a video of this and get it across to your neighbours. This will sure make you feel like a kid once again and you are not just going to enjoy it, it will also help strengthen the relationship between you and your neighbours.
4. CREATE A NATURE FOCUSSED BOOK CLUB
You may take advantage of the summer to encourage a love for reading and nature amongst your family or friends by organising a nature focussed book club. Visit your local library to find books on renewable energy, climate change, wildlife and a host of other topics. Hold weekly meetings outdoors in a park or in a garden and spend time discussing what you have read and how to inculcate the ideas into your lifestyles. If possible, consider taking field trips to natural sites that you came across in the books. This would boost your environmental consciousness and mental health as well as create a stronger bond between you and your family or friends.
Summer comes only once in a year, so don’t lose out on the fun by staying indoors on the couch, playing video games, or sitting in front of your computer screen all through. Set out, run around, have fun and fall head over heels in love with nature. The experience can keep you motivated for the rest of the year.
And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and to Allah is the destination.
The Qur’an, Surah An-Noor (Chapter of the light) 24:42
Wardah Abbas is a twenty something year old Eco-Muslimah who is quick to express her feelings. She gives priority to creating a friendly environment and likes to enjoy herself to the fullest. When Wardah is not writing, volunteering at an event or hanging out with friends, she can be found in front of the mirror trying out new make-up techniques. Find her blogging on therosespen.wordpress.com