In 2020, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached record levels and continues to increase. The past decade was the hottest on record 1 causing devastating effects such as melting ice caps, flooding, and unprecedented droughts and wildfires, to name a few. Every year the world loses 14,800 square miles of forest, which roughly equates to the size of Switzerland. And with all this loss of nature, humans are following suit, spending less time in nature, and having less access to it. Today, 55% of the world’s population currently live in urban areas. This number is expected to increase to 68% by 2050, according to the United Nations, 3 who offer one of the more conservative estimates out there.
It is no secret that as a global society, we are confronted with growing social and ecological crises. But what can we, as individuals, do to make a positive impact on these seemingly insurmountable challenges? What can we do to make this world a better place?
In his book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, author Charles Einstein offers a beautiful approach:
There is strong evidence that both on a personal and societal level people tend to be happier, healthier, more productive, creative, as well as actively engaged in community when nature is a meaningful part of their lives. They are also more likely to care for it.
It is with all of this in mind that we started Dream Local, a new venture that helps people connect with nature. We do this in several ways. Dream Local is a platform that offers a curated selection of local nature experiences (for the pilot, we’ve launched in Berlin, Germany). Our nature experiences can be anything that brings people into nature in a way that inspires, teaches and celebrates it.
But more than the best lakes or hiking trails, more than just outdoor activities for the weekend, Dream Local offers nature experiences that are meant to go deeper; to not only take a moment connecting with nature, but to also journey into the story behind the people, the land, the experience. And that’s exactly what you’ll feel after a Dream Local experience, a deeper appreciation for this slice of nature you encounter, and a closer connection to the community around you.
Each partner on Dream Local has a story to tell about how nature has shaped their journey and their business in such a profound way that they want to share it with others.
In the middle of 35-hectares of grape vines, Bettina Muthmann, the owner of Wolkenberg Winery just outside of Berlin, explains how every morning at dawn the winery gets a visit from a local wolf. He stands at the top of the hill overlooking the vineyard, surveying what he must consider his territory. She’s had to take measures to keep him from roaming the fields for his own good, the grapes he wants to eat will ferment in his stomach and make him sick. It’s these little anecdotes about the interplay between habitat and humanity that make touring the vineyard much more than a great glass of Riesling.
Bettina tells about the unique history the region has with wine, and her journey to recultivate the land that was once used for mining. And of course, you learn about the local terroir, the grapes, the wine varietals, as she explains how to navigate a glass of wine like an experienced winemaker.
This experience, which is true for all partners we work with, is special not just because of what she offers, but also why. Bettina has taken land that was once stripped of its natural resources and nurtured it back to its original state.
And so one-by-one, moment-by-moment, tree-by-tree, Dream Local aims to make this world a better place by helping provide more opportunity for people to access these special experiences with nature, and in doing so, hope that we help them connect with the land and the community that supports it. Or in other words, to help make nature a meaningful part of people’s lives.