I had had a lot of thoughts about creating Wellderness for a while. No real direction or goal but just an inclination to create a place to gather resources to gather thoughts and demonstrate how to enjoy the great outdoors to improve your life. What turned the thoughts of what to do from thoughts to action came from an unlikely event – the election of notorious nature non-lover Donald J. Trump to the White House.
Trump’s election to the most powerful office in the world has taught me more about mental health (or lack thereof), corporate greed and the malaise of capitalism than any other event in history. He has provided insight into so many of life’s miseries it is hard to sum it up or imagine how seeing such exposure of the ugly side of the world could have been attained without his particular level of crazy. There have been endless reports of what his parents did or didn’t do, what level of narcissism is at work that creates these kinds of actions, why he behaves the way he does. For someone who has been in the corporate world, he is symptomatic of the worst excesses of it – bloated, infatuated with money, binary and lacking any sign of nuance. I would posit that the longer a CEO spends in the boardroom (hours per week, years of life, whatever) the more likely he or she is to show Trumpian traits.
Wave after wave of environmentally damaging decisions followed. From the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, winding back the remit of the Environmental Protection Agency, expansion of coastal oil drilling, decisions view the environment as an externality to be mastered and exploited rather than the foundation of all life.
To this end, one aspect of the of Trump’s (at least adult) life seems telling. According to this report in the Independent “Mr Trump has spent the last three decades within Trump Tower. His apartment is on the 58th floor, and a designated elevator takes him from there to his office on the 26th floor.” Whole days spent in one building. Whole days. Never. Going. Outside. There’s an excellent article here where you can read the analysis of Melania Trump’s instagram postings – mostly from inside Trump Tower or taken through a car window, examples of such masterpieces are included on this blog.
Two plus years after moving into the White House I doubt it’s got much better, an atmosphere more rarefied than one could imagine given the beck and call world the first family now inhabits and the attendant security concerns that make it more a prison than a palace. And despite the well-publicised visits to the golf course, I suspect the President would have a deeper understanding of the power of nature if his access to it was a little-less manicured. Could anyone be surprised that he was less than hinged when his only connection to the outdoors is through a window or via an electric golf buggy?
We are not apart from nature and the tendency of the corporate world to view nature through the lens of pounds and pence (or dollars and cents, whatever) diminishes us all. In not much more than a couple of centuries we have managed to mine and exploit ecosystems in the pursuit of capitalist ideologies with no real accounting for future loss. It is only since the emergence of climate science that there has even been a discussion about resource use. And in the process, we have diminished ourselves. There is an epidemic of illness and isolation. The two things are connected. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
It’s probably too late for Donald Trump to find himself in nature. But his emergence as the (non) leader of the free world has been enough to make me and many others see in high definition that it’s time for change. It’s time to reconnect ourselves to the fact that we are nature, not apart from it. Wellderness is my effort to encourage more people to get outdoors, to reconnect to nature, to come home to themselves.