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Why going out into nature is really ‘going in’

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.[1]

These words were written over 120 years ago by naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir, yet he could have written them yesterday, so accuate do they seem for our crammed and stressful lives. Nature is as essential to our mental and physical wellbeing as it ever was; arguably even more so as we are confronted with the fragility and complexity of our planet in this era of anthropogenic pollutants and climate change.  

Paul and I began Koala Eco because we’d been searching in vain for environmentally safe and non-toxic cleaning materials for our home, so decided to set up a business making our own. However, we quickly realised that our motivation for researching and working with the natural antiseptic and antibacterial power of botanicals went deeper than creating a pragmatic solution to a lack. Our interest was founded on our individual childhood experiences growing up in rural communities in Australia and the United States, and being out in nature every day. Being outdoors, whether in mountains or in the ocean made a material difference to our states of mind and physical wellbeing. Simply, nature made us feel really good. It still does.

So it makes real sense that our business has hinged on creating opportunities for people to bring a little nature and wellbeing into their daily lives, through products that use the powerful (and therapeutic) properties of 100% natural essential oils. It’s become important also for us to invest in and support organisations that care for and restore nature, and encourage meaningful connection.  It doesn’t matter if Koala Eco is contributing to the conservation of our namesake, the koala, donating to 1% for the Planet every time a product is sold, or helping to facilitate close encounters between young people and marine life (as we do with the Oceanic Society’s Critter Scholars Program). It’s all about strengthening and spreading the love and respect for what’s irreplaceable.

Meaningful connections with the natural world offer us human beings joy, respite and healing, and ultimately, a meaningful connection with ourselves. The ‘fountains of life’ of those mountains and wildness that Muir described replenish our lives and minds, and give us the opportunity and space—should we embrace them—to be more at peace with ourselves. As Muir puts it, nature helps us tune into the rhythms of our own psyches, and to move closer to knowing ourselves:  

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.[2]       


[1] Our National Parks (1901)

[2] John of the Mountains: the unpublished journals of John Muir (1938)

Koala Eco Journal


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