This world of ours is a beautiful thing. All around the globe, we can find natural wonders that are virtually impossible to describe fairly. Incredibly animals populate the land and sea, and serene and peaceful natural places await those who know where to look.

At the same time, this world is in danger. Human activities have destroyed much of the non-human world: We have decimated animal populations (and made some species extinct forever), cut down vast swaths of old-growth forests, polluted the air and water, and raised the temperature of the Earth.

Enjoying the beauty of nature goes hand in hand with learning how to better respect our planet. But both of those things can be tough in an era of urbanization and technological innovation. It’s getting harder and harder to “unplug,” and it’s also getting harder to live an environmentally friendly life.

It’s not yet impossible to do these things, though. Those who want to can still connect with our natural world.

Make Time for Nature

The natural world’s spectacular beauty doesn’t come with free Wi-Fi, so most of us would have a hard time spending our workdays in the woods. But when it comes to vacations, natural places make a very natural fit. Traveling to natural sights can be as engaging and interesting as traveling to faraway cities, and it can be much more soothing and relaxing.

So where should you start? If you’re in the United States, the U.S. National Parks system is a great place to start. The stunning vistas available in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and other National Parks are among the most impressive natural views in the world. And National Parks are set up in such a way as to offer something for everyone, explain the experts at outdoorsome.com: Capable hikers and climbers will find incredible trails and challenges, while older and less mobile folks will still be able to enjoy unparalleled views from the roadways and overlooks that have been carefully charted through the wilderness.

Other countries have national parks, too, and individual U.S. states have preserved huge tracts of land. Here, once again, vacationers have a choice. Guided tours, cruises, and hotel stays await those who want a pampered natural vacation. Those looking for a more rugged experience can navigate backwoods trails and, with the proper permits, camp out at campsites or along backcountry backpacking trails. Before you go to the backcountry, brush up on proper conservation practices and etiquette!

Make a Difference for Our Planet

Connecting with nature in your vacation time is great, but don’t forget about our planet when you’re back home. Even in suburbs and big cities, there’s so much that we can do to revere and care for nature.

These options go way beyond basic stuff like recycling. Residential solar panels, for instance, will really cut down on your carbon footprint (and will save you money in the long run). So will choosing public transit or carpooling over regular solo commutes in a car. And you can do your part to help out nature in local parks: Cleanup and planting projects await you, so look for your local park or conservation group! Together, we can preserve and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Environmentalists and conservationists aren’t born—they’re made. By cultivating a connection to nature, you’ll grow to appreciate even more just how beautiful and vital our planet is. After exploring a place of stunning natural beauty like Yellowstone or Yosemite, who could possibly come back unchanged? It’s up to all of us to harness our connection with these stunning spaces and put our passion to work in saving our planet.