There is a mismatch between our genes and our present life style.
The human body, which evolved as an Animal, halted its evolutionary progress during the Paleolithic era of Hunting and Gathering food. However, humankind continued in evolving culturally, surpassing the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions and has now come as far as entering to Information Age.
Our anatomy however has not been designed to endure “western” way of life which include long hours of blue collared jobs and the consumption of unnatural food such as short eats and carbonated drinks. Therefore we have now succumbed to various sicknesses ranging from cancer to high blood pressure, diabetics, and heart diseases. On the other hand, rapid development on the societal front has also destroyed our environment, natural resources and animal life.
“Back to Nature” an initiative introduced by the Young Biologists’ Association and Forestry and Environment Society of University of Sri Jayewardnepura, which focuses on healing both humans and the environment; with the hope of encouraging a healthy and happy human being as well as a sustainable environment.
“Back to Nature” includes five components:
Eat, Move and Rest focus on inspiring a happy and healthy human being while, Conserve and Resilience focus on safeguarding, conserving and adopting to changing environmental conditions.
Eat specifically hopes to introduce healthy food consumption; what is truly required herein is to cut down on processed food, which are the least useful and health, and instead switch to vegetables, fruit and other whole food produce and consumption. Our physiques depend on the food we consume, and the artificial, unhealthy processed food have paved way in spreading in numerous diseases as mentioned above.
Move is all about increasing our daily movements and physical activity. Our long hours spent seated behind desks have made us sick; and its solution is not found in doing a uniform set of exercises in the Gym but in increasing our natural activities as much as possible. For example, instead of sitting on a chair, how many poses can we adopt in sitting on the ground? Activities that suit the human leg movement involve walking, hiking, running and other actions which our ancestors carried out.
Rest in the meantime attempts in taking a break and catching some rest despite the rat race of a life we live. This therefore would focus on aspects in relation to concentration while living a calm and peaceful life. This entails the Buddhist philosophy referring to mindful-living.
The other two concepts envision the restoration of our degraded environment. Conserve is an attempt at restore bio-diversity and promoting environmental conservation. While Resilience would focus on living and adapting to this world that’s undergoing environmental catastrophes such as global warming, etc.
Despite having the latest technology and resources, we somehow fail in living a happy life in touch with the environment. Therefore we hope that “Back to Nature” would be an opportunity for you to reconnect to your roots and find real fulfillment and happiness in life.
Prof Hiran Amarasekera
Department of Forestry and Environment Science