The Bar-On Brief: From Temple Run to Subway Surfers

A tribute to nature

By Shauli Bar-On, Columnist

The Bar-On Brief: a weekly column
The Bar-On Brief: a weekly column

From Temple Run, we went to Subway Surfers. Society’s interests are clearly moving away from nature, and students may be taking it for granted. This is, well, natural. We have busy lives: we do homework, text and use social media. When we do have some free time, we watch Netflix.

I want to give some credit to nature. Especially because last Sunday was the Jewish holiday TuBshvat, a holiday known as “new year of the trees.”

Nature is all-powerful, even scary, I’d say. Atomic bombs may have the power to detonate a city, but earthquakes are equally destructive. The powers of water, tsunamis and Niagara Falls alike make human forces seem impotent.

The slow process of erosion is even more astonishing — just look at the Grand Canyon or the formation of the Silicon Valley.

National Geographic reports nature is beneficial to the brain, making us healthier, smarter and happier. Taking a hike exposes you to sights, smells and sounds you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience on a daily basis.

I’m not asking you to pull a Thoreau and isolate yourself in the woods for two years. Nor do I recommend you wander around in the streets of D.C. during the monstrous blizzard currently taking place.

I’m suggesting you take a stroll every now and then. Embrace your backyard if you have one. Bike around every so often. Climb some trees like you did in grade school.

A popular post I’ve seen on social media reads, “If trees produced Wi-Fi signals, we’d be planting them everyday. But unfortunately for us, all they do is give off oxygen.” And with that, I rest my case.


This article appeared in The Epitaph’s 4th issue, published January 27, 2016.