Youths log out of social media, log into nature

Recently, a group of youths from the Church of St Joseph went on a nature walk at Rimba Ilmu Botanical Garden in University Malaya.

Jan 26, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Recently, a group of youths from the Church of St Joseph went on a nature walk at Rimba Ilmu Botanical Garden in University Malaya. Called Loggin’ Out, young people were invited to disconnect from social media in order to have a better connection with nature – our common home – and with each other.

We gathered in St Joseph’s Church at noon for registration and a simple lunch before departing to Rimba. We arrived there all excited, ready to take on the walk. Our tour guide, Benjamin Ong, or better known as Ben, gave us a briefing.

He explained that Rimba is a secondary rainforest and we must remember that in a forest, we are the visitors and therefore must be mindful of the plants and creatures living there. We were fascinated by the beauty of nature and had a wonderful time learning and exploring. We were introduced to various types of wild and medicinal plants and tasted fresh leaves and herbs like limau nipis for the first time.

All our senses were engaged as we touched and felt nature around us, like bright orange fungi, a mixture of algae and bacteria that felt very soft and velvety; we listened to whistling insects and smelt the fragrant leaves and fruits. Everyone’s faces lit up to see clear streams in the forest! Some even filled up their water bottles. The water is safe to drink in small amounts.

It has been tested to be one of the cleanest in KL. We also got to see one of the largest palm trees in the world and gigantic bamboo stems.

Just as we were walking through a beautiful quiet path out of Rimba, it started to pour heavily. Showers of blessings at the end of a wonderful time amidst God’s handiwork! We then gathered in a cozy little glass-walled room for a short reflective debrief. We relaxed, reflected and talked about the tour we had and just felt happy to be able to experience such an amazing walk.

We learnt to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and how beautiful it is that He gave us nature as a gift!

We realised that, as followers of Christ, we should learn to appreciate and care for nature through the little gestures in our daily lives. After that, Ben told us that our group broke the record for having spent the longest time in the forest, which was about three hours, as the average time spent is usually about one and a half hours.

We were all very happy to hear that and one of our friends quipped, “It didn’t even feel like three hours!” We wrapped up our trip after thanking Ben for a good time in Rimba and headed back to St Joseph’s Church.

Through Loggin’ Out, we now understand that nature is also where we feel God’s love, as Pope Francis reminds us. That was an eyeopener! We learnt that we should spend more of our time with nature; for and with God. Even though we live in the city, we can move mountains by taking small steps like planting plants and trees or just taking a nature walk or watching the sunrise.

In this way, we can do our part in loving and saving Mother Nature. Spread awareness about nature conservation with your family and friends as we are called to enjoy, love, and conserve what God has given us. Let’s together care for our common home!

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