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Environmental Protectionism Through Waffle Bowls Not Waffle Cones


Nicole Cupolo

June 16th 2022


Have you every truly looked at a scoop of ice cream in depth? Taken a moment to recognize that your scoop of chocolate fudge cookie dough ice cream represents so much more than exactly that: a scoop of chocolate fudge cookie dough ice cream. You will realize that the components of something so simply decadent and satiating may also represent something so much greater than that of just ice cream, such as our world. The imperfectly round scoop embodies our mother earth while the swirls of chocolate fudge mimic the interconnectivity of waterways to the cookie dough pieces of land. And the very thing holding up our ice cream world: the human waffle cone.

NicoleCHow is it that one scoop of ice cream can represent an unspoken metaphoric duality of something that evokes such pleasure (even for the lactose-intolerant folks who indulge but pay the price later) and such concern to protect and preserve something so subjected to human destruction. We, the people, the human waffle cone, are tasked with the responsibility of upholding mother earth. Yet when you think of a conventional waffle cone, it is impossible to deny its shape, meaning that many of us are conglomerated at the apex of the cone – far away and ultimately disconnected from protecting our earth.

Some of us may subconsciously possess the nature-deficit disorder. Coined by Richard Louv (2008), the nature-deficit disorder looks at the behavioural consequences that occur when people are disconnected from their natural environment. While this theory was originally applied to the development of children, arguably, behavioural changes occur to all humans who lack a connection to their natural environment regardless of age.

As the amount of space between humans and their environments widen, so too does their discernment for environmental protectionism. This space perpetuates human ignorance. At what cost? The cost of ignoring the true significance and value of our world.

How does this happen? Should we just blame our parents for not encouraging us to spend more time outside? That would be an easy yet unproductive solution.

There is an argument to be made about the inherent connection humans have with their environment. In fact, the term biophilia was introduced by American biologist Edward Wilson (1993) to describe the affinity between all living things. The space that drives humans away from nature must be challenged by rekindling our relationship with it. When we render something important or worthy of our care, our desire and initiative to protect that very thing becomes stronger (Suzuki & Hanington, 2017).  

An important step is to acknowledge that we, as a society, have become disconnected from the natural environment (Kresbir & Kresbir, 2017). We must realize that all life forms are deeply interconnected because the blatant reality is that the human population will no longer exist if our mother earth perishes.

 Rest assured, the World Wildlife Fund UK and the Mental Health Foundation (2020) suggest six ways to better connect with nature:

  • Find nature wherever you are. Recognize that nature is all around us, meaning we may be more connected to our surroundings than we think. Community gardens, parks or trails count!
  • Improve your mindfulness in nature. Reflect in nature using all your senses to experience your environment fully.
  • Spend more time in both green spaces (gardens, parks, forests) and blue spaces (beaches, rivers, wetlands).
  • Bring nature to you. Integrate greenery into your home and work environment through houseplants, flowers and small indoor or outdoor gardens.
  • If possible, be active in nature. Walk, hike, run, bike or simply play in nature to reap both physical and mental health benefits. Imagine the possibilities in blue spaces as well!
  • Integrate nature into creativity. Take photographs, draw, paint, sing, dance or pursue another form of artistic expression to establish meaningful and emotional connections to nature.

So, is the moral of the story that we should all be eating our endless scoops of ice cream out of waffle bowls instead of cones this summer? Possibly. In non-metaphorical terms, nature is for everyone. When we find our own ways to reconnect with our natural environment, we can establish a sense of care and desire to protect our world.

For more ways to connect with nature, check out Thriving with Nature: A Guide for Everyone handbook written by the World Wildlife Fund UK and the Mental Health Foundation:


Photo: Nicole Cupolo


Kesebir, S., & Kesebir, P. (2017, Sept 20). How Modern Life Became Disconnected from Nature. Greater Good Magazine: Science-Based Insights for a Meaningful Life.

Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods. Workman Publishing.

Suzuki, D., & Hanington, I. (2017, Jun 1). World Environment Day reminds us to reconnect with nature. David Suzuki Foundation.

Wilson, E. O. (1993). The Biophilia Hypothesis. Island Press.

World Wildlife Fund UK & the Mental Health Foundation. (2020). Thriving with Nature: A Guide for Everyone.