Does nature have a marketing problem? Headlines about climate change, extreme weather, and their catastrophic impacts to the built environment are overwhelming. It’s easy to feel helpless and at a loss for meaningful action. So the folks at a Colorado-based grassroots environmental group decided to do a bit of alchemy, mixing beautiful images of the natural world with a dollop of comedy to deliver a serious message. Where were these guys during COP 21?
Nature Rx created a series of faux television commercials starring a seemingly sincere young man, once crippled by modern life and “longing for the apocalypse”, who found an obvious solution he’d been missing all along: nature. He ups his daily dosage of time spent outdoors, has fun again, strengthens connections to himself and other people, and notices his libido increases too. Meanwhile, a voice-over warns “this prescription may lead to spontaneous euphoria. For euphoria lasting more than 4 hours, check work email and consult your doctor”.
You might need to have experienced American TV to get the full joke. (Does any other nation peddle prescription drugs during prime-time entertainment?) The clips spoof these drug commercials, hawking the Great Outdoors as a new medical discovery, complete with dosage guidance and an exhaustive list of side effects which can include “remembering you have a body, and being in a good mood”.
Other risks may include “getting off your ass and developing a genuine care for yourself, the people around you and other people”.
Nature Rx has developed a suite of award-winning comedic films that serve up environmentalism with an appetizing blend of satirical fun. These brief reminders about the wonder of outdoor adventure smartly lead us a to better awareness of why the environment is worth protecting. View them on YouTube and the Nature Rx website.
Good science underpins the parody. Research shows that spending more time in nature improves your well-being and leads to making better environmental decisions. Nature Rx states that free-range chickens and prison inmates are legally guaranteed more time outdoors than the average American kid spends outside. (Check out their website for more on their many programs to promote the outdoors, and to learn how you can support their efforts.)
So if you are more interested in selfies than in preserving the natural environment, you may need to increase your dose of nature. Henry David Thoreau knew this when he penned, “Our lives… need the relief of where the pine flourishes and the jay still screams.”