What are the Five Essentials?

While the implications of creating a healthy, resilient world can feel exciting and uplifting and motivating, it can also feel overwhelming!

The Five Essentials for a Resilient World offer simple concepts to help you understand, make decisions, and take action in ways that benefit humans, non-humans, and our planet’s ecosystems.

Our “EnviroTip” stories and articles can help you find simple ways to make a great difference. Read our Welcome to EnviroTips article to learn more.

At Home

Rose Verbena in bloom with Native Plant signage

Learn simple tips to bring the concepts of the Five Essentials into your home, visit EnviroTip #11: A Home Tour.

The Five Essentials are a useful tool you can use for every occasion! Check out the 5 Essentials for a Conscious Holiday Season.

Love gardening? Want to benefit pollinators and reduce chemical runoff into our streamways? Read EnviroTip #4: Actively “Green” Our Planet.

Does it seem like all this might be too much work? Read Christine Julian‘s article, Healthy Living Through Nature, and see the inspiring ways her life shifted after buying just one house plant.

At Work

The Resilient Activist offers customized Business for Good programs to help bring the Five Essentials into the corporate environment. Contact us for more information.

Read Kylie Vannaman, M.D.’s article I Love My Patients So Much That I Had To Quit My Job to get a sense of the difficult choice she made to start a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice for the benefit of her patients, as well as for her own well-being.


Pebble Interiors: Purpose-Driven, Green Design

Are you an interior designer or know someone who is? Join our Pebble Interiors initiative through our Facebook group! You’ll gather tips and tools to support purpose-driven, green design, and connect interior designers with local green resources and positive support.

For Stress Relief

One of the most important ways to explore the Five Essentials is as a reflection on your well-being through mind, body, and spirit.

Here’s a link to Resilience, a simple list of wellness and mindfulness practices that you can add to your everyday schedule to find equanimity.

What is the emotional impact of being an environmental steward?

Those of us who have been at this work for a long time know the emotional toll that can come when we care so deeply and the road to success is neither smooth nor easy. 

Well, there are new words in the mental health profession now, including eco-anxiety (fear about ecological change), pre-traumatic stress (knowing what’s coming due to global warming), and solastalgia (pining for a lost environment).

A lot of us ask ourselves:

  • Who are the people who still don’t get the need for living in right relationship with nature and how do I talk to them?
  • How do I decide what is most important for ME to do right now?
  • What can I afford to do – financially as well as emotionally or with my available time?
  • How do I release all this tension and not take it home to my family?

What can we do to stay resilient and hopeful? 

Many of those who care are experiencing burn-out, depression, anger, and more. 

When we embody the concepts of the Five Essentials, we can develop a healthy mindset with daily practices that can ease the emotional burden we carry.

Reconnect to Nature

The First is, “Reconnect to Nature”: Schedule time outdoors and breathe in the essence of nature. Thousands of studies show the benefits of time in nature – emotionally, as well as physically with lowered blood pressure, cognitively with clearer thinking and the opportunity to tap into the metaphors and lessons of nature, and spiritually – so many of us feel a sense of oneness and wellbeing in a place we love.

Guest blogger, Ken Lassman‘s series Inviting Nature To Your Home will give you lots of ideas and stress-free ways to Reconnect to Nature.

And chuckle with author Dawn Downey as a simple nature hike turned into a Cliff Hanger with an empowering message.


Respect all Life

Second, “Respect All Life”: this means YOU! Honor your own boundaries in time and commitments. Participate in activities that make you feel good but are separate from your work, including healing practices like yoga, meditation, or exercise.

Sometimes there is a different way to think about the world and all the wild creatures that inhabit it. Our EnviroTip #1: Tomato Hornworms: Feeling The Love may give you some food for thought on ways to Respect All Life.


Regreen the Planet
Regreen our Planet

Third, “Regreen Our Planet”: Personally. Create a glorious native garden at home or set houseplants throughout your home and office. Take time every day to notice – just notice – the colors, shapes, forms, and patterns of the nature around you, especially during stressful times.

Read Patti Beedles‘ blog post Gathering Native Seed: Ridiculous Musings on Winter Coming to get a sense of the healing benefits of the time she spends in native prairie land.


Revamp our Spending

Fourth, “Revamp Our Spending”: How you spend your money, of course, but also how you spend your time, your attention, and your energy. Read books that are uplifting. Create a gratitude journal that tracks everyone you know who is contributing to the greater good. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful it feels to see it in writing.

Mary Howe‘s article, Envirotip: Steal some mulch, is a light-hearted take on finding free mulch for her neighbor’s new garden.

And David Bilbrey‘s article, Permaculture Paradigm for the Next Economy, is an introduction to the permaculture concepts of “whole systems thinking and embodiment” that can create the next economy that will serve all of humanity.


Replenish our Resources

And Fifth, “Replenish Our Resources”: Schedule, in your calendar, what you need to be supported and healthy. Many environmental stewards are givers. But when you give and give and give, without replenishing your own needs, that’s when burn-out, grief, and overwhelm can kick in.

Explore this aspect of the Five Essentials in EnviroTip #10: Grief and Hope in Times of Environmental Angst.

Beth Sarver‘s article, EnviroTip #9: Mothering a Young Environmentalist Without Going Off the Rails, will give you insight into one mother’s shift after a mindful parenting lesson.

And read about Tobi Holloway‘s journey to find the balance between activism and self-care in Starts with Mindset – Culminates in Community.

Want to know more?

Join us at our programs and events to explore more ways the Five Essentials for a Resilient World can become an everyday part of your life.

Knowing you’re making an important difference for a healthy planet – while also nurturing yourself- is a powerful resilience tool.

The Resilient Activist

The Resilient Activist enjoys sharing inspiring and nature-aware content from around the globe.  Hope you've enjoyed this article!