to be outdoors is to be free
Updated: Feb 8
As the clock struck midnight on NYE 2019, the world was rife with excitement at the prospect of a new roaring twenties. The reality, however, has been far from a celebratory party. Instead, the banning of mass gatherings at the height of lockdown was one of the many new rules and restrictions characterising our lives during the coronavirus pandemic. With messages to stay at home and socially distance to protect the NHS and save lives, we were forced to adjust to a strange new world for the greater good.
We can mutually agree that restrictions on social interactions, normal day-to-day activities, and time spent outdoors impacted our overall health and wellbeing.
To be confined indoors and denied unlimited access to outdoor space was one of the biggest challenges society collectively faced. We longed to enjoy the dawn of springtime with its alluring fresh air, dappled sunshine, warmer temperatures, and longer days. Those of us lucky enough to have gardens and balconies could recognise what a real luxury it is. For many urban city dwellers communal greens and parks were the only access to landscapes for outdoor activities. The forced closure of communal sports facilities, and roping off of playgrounds and dining spots, combined with the time-cap placed on outdoor exercise, meant that a large proportion of the population were denied the option of leisurely outdoor pastimes. As social creatures by nature, human beings are not designed to be caged indoors.
With a newfound appreciation of outdoor spaces, people flocked to natural landscapes as lockdown measures were gradually lifted during summer. Many rushed to travel abroad or journey to areas of natural beauty closer to home. Communal greens were packed with people wanting to sunbathe and gather en masse. It is clear to see that unlimited access to outdoor space is crucial to society’s mental and physical health. The great outdoors inspires us, encouraging adventure, interaction, learning, and creativity. The landscapes we are so drawn to, and count on for our wellbeing, deserve to be fully appreciated and acknowledged for their real value in our lives. To be outdoors is to be free, and to be free is to live.