12 good reasons to preserve wilderness

Why we need to save our last areas of wilderness

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt

To be taken seriously today you need to look good, so here are 12 well-dressed ambassadors of wilderness and 12 good reasons to preserve and enlarge our last standing areas of wilderness on the planet:

Watercolor of wildlife in suits
12 reasons to preserve our wilderness areas

12 good reasons to save wilderness on a global scale:

1. – Being outdoors in wilderness help us live longer and gives us better health

Watercolor of a moose in suit
Outdoor life will help us live longer

Nature can help us grow older, sleep better, heal better and get a much stronger immune system to fight of diseases. It is still not exactly clear why, but people being close to nature and who spend time to connect to wilderness tend to be healthier and live longer.

2. – Nature help us thrive

Watercolor of a frog in suit
Connecting to the wilderness helps us thrive

Walking in unspoiled nature not only help our physical well-being, but is among the most efficient healing and stress-reducing activities science has been able to measure so far. Being outdoors is simple very good for how we feel and how we thrive, both in the short and long term.

3. – wilderness helps protect us against climate change

Watercolor of a buffalo bison in a suit
Wilderness can make us more resilient to climate change

Mature, complex natural ecosystems that nature took hundreds or thousands of years to establish can be very robust and we can learn a lot from them about how to reduce the worst effects of climate change. We are just starting to understand the dynamics in these advanced living ecological systems, where countless and very different species connect, grow, communicate and adapt to help the survival of the whole system.

4. – Wilderness inspires innovation

Watercolor of a hare in a jacket
Wilderness can inspire innovation and creativity

Walking in nature and being outdoors is great for stimulating innovation. New ideas and insights are captured better on a far away narrow trail, together, than by spending endless hours posting scribbled forests of small colored note-it labels all over dull meeting rooms.

5. – wilderness is the home for a lot of species

Watercolor of a bee in a dark suit
Wilderness is a home for a lot of important species

Preserving wilderness is the only way we can help secure the long term survival of the biodiversity of the planet. Zoo’s can’t do this. Biodiversity thrives along migration lines, some of the species traveling forth and back across whole continents every year.

Many of the planet’s species need undisturbed nature to thrive… and we need all these species to thrive too, as biodiversity is what protect us from a lot of diseases and many of our most important healing remedies comes from species nobody even knew existed only a few years back. Species that are highly endangered  and most often wiped out before we even met them when wilderness is lost.

6. – wilderness is important for future generations

Watercolor of an eagle in a suit
Wilderness should be preserved also for future generations

Many ancient and long-existing cultures have long argued for the importance of securing areas of wilderness for the thrive of the next generations. Not only the children of today and tomorrow, but to find ways to secure the wilderness, resources and long-term thrive for human generations hundreds or thousand of years from now

7. – wilderness is beautiful 

Watercolor of dressed up badger
Wilderness is beautiful in ways we need

We still are far from understanding how the beauty and energy of a forest in autumn, a wild waterfall or stormy walk along a coastline energize us and make us thrive… But somehow when we relate to nature our well-being is re-charged in unique ways, ways we will miss more than we can grasp, if we lose them.

8. – wilderness is what we have in common

Watercolor of a bear in a suit
Wilderness is beyond yours and mine

Out in the wilderness there is less “yours and mine” and much more “ours”.

Reality, campfires, food, shelter and paths are shared more than they are being bought and sold.  It is less important what your education or your status are, and much more important how you relate to others, balance your energy and thrive.

To have something in common is a very important and radically different thing, from the commercial logic of creating needs and cravings in defined target-groups to be able to sell people solutions they don’t really need.

9. – Wilderness can bring us together

Wilderness helps us connect to each other

Walking together in nature brings people together and help them understand in ways that conference-centers, auditoriums and PowerPoint presentations jut fail to do.

10. – wilderness protect the resources we do not yet understand why we need

Watercolor of a wolf in a suit
Wilderness help us to preserve resources before we understand why we need them

We know that wilderness and nature can help us thrive and energize us in unique ways, but these resources are beyond what we know how to capture and sell in bottles, sealed cans or as apps. When we connect with nature we connect instinctively to resources, we don’t even know what are…

11. – wilderness can connect us to the stars

Watercolor of a fox in a suit
Wilderness can help us re-connect to a larger reality

Electricity has long been celebrated as one of our most reality-changing innovations ever. But when we went indoors and turned on the light we instantly forgot the price we paid for it… We lost our connection to the countless stars that used to fill the whole horizon around us every night.

Going out sleeping under the stars is simple re-establishing our conversation with the universe by turning off both our light-bulbs and consciousness, and instead face as the sky light up a cosmic reality, with countless galaxies, each with billions and billions of stars,  right over our heads.

12. – Wilderness can make us part of a story, that make us alive

Watercolor of a Salmon in suit
Wilderness help us become part of stories

Our screens and digital gadgets promised to make us part of a larger story, but these gadgets very seldom deliver on that promise, instead most of us find ourselves sitting bored and restless, evening after evening, watching an ever diminishing number of more and more globally told, commercially designed stories, on a few and ever more dominating outlets, with names like Facebook, YouTube and Netflix.

Out in nature we are part of the story, not watching it from a distant, detached digital comfort zone.

Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt

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