What’s Your Favorite Place on Earth?

Goodlifer: What's Your Favorite Place on Earth?

Sitting on a rocky slope, warmed up from a long day of sunshine, the sun low over the horizon. It’s a mid-summer evening in Stockholm’s archipelago, no sound but chirping birds and clucking waves. Laying on a big blanket, in the park, surrounded by thousands of sun-worshipers, drunk on summer. Kites fly impossibly high above, dogs run free and people’s voices meld into a harmonious murmur. Hiking trails in Californian mountains, the air hot and dry, gusts of wind every now and then invigorating the soul. Condors soar above and the big bright city seems far far away.

Few things make us feel happier and more at peace than being surrounded by nature. We regress to some primal sense of belonging, being one with the earth, and feel our stress and worries just melt away. Isn’t it fantastic?

View of the Los Padres National Forest in Ojai, CA.

View of the Los Padres National Forest in Ojai, CA.

The Nature Conservancy wants to celebrate nature’s best and find out what your favorite natural place on earth is. “What places or wildlife do you celebrate? Do you feel at peace gazing at condors in the Grand Canyon? Or are you most comfortable watching a robin in your own backyard?” Whatever the answer may be, it’s undeniable that we are all connected to nature somehow, especially, perhaps, to the place where we were born. In a recent New York Times article by Daniel B. Smith called “Is There an Ecological Unconscious?,” Philosopher and Professor of Sustainability Glenn Albrecht says that “People have heart’s ease when they’re on their own country. If you force them off that country, if you take them away from their land, they feel the loss of heart’s ease as a kind of vertigo, a disintegration of their whole life.”

Snow-covered trees near my childhood home in Gävle, Sweden.

Snow-covered trees near my childhood home in Gävle, Sweden.

Unfortunately, there may be other reasons for this uneasiness than losing this inherent connection by moving away; some of your favorite earthly sanctuaries may be at risk, due to climate change, development or pollution and environmental destruction. In a 2004 essay, Albrecht coined the term “solastalgia,” a combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root –algia (pain), which he defined as “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault… a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’ ” I’m sure you can all think of some place to which you can relate this feeling, be it meadows turned into yet another block of houses, pristine lakes disrupted by pollution or just another paradise turned into parking lot.

Rolling Hills in Columbia County, Upstate New York.

Rolling Hills in Columbia County, Upstate New York.

It’s important that we work to preserve nature and all its beauty, because if we who love it don’t, then who will? I once heard a story about a forest area that environmental activists had been trying to get the public to care about preserving for a long time but without any success. Someone had the idea to name the specific parcel of land and almost instantly public interest spiked. If it’s important enough to name, it must be important enough to protect, right?

A very special summer evening on a lake in the middle of Sweden.

A very special summer evening on a lake in the middle of Sweden.

Visit The Nature Conservacy and tell them about your favorite place on Earth and the wildlife that thrives there by posting a comment or uploading photos to The Nature Conservancy Flickr group.

Top photo: Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. All photos by Johanna Björk.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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