Trees are good for you

As I’ve mentioned. part of the reason I named this blog Grow the Forest is because I think there should be more forests and greenery in general and that people should have a stronger connection to nature.

That’s why I really like these two recent articles (here and here) explaining that experiencing nature first hand is good for our health.

Some of the research findings mentioned are:

  1. exposure to nature reduced levels of rumination (cycling negative thoughts)
  2. “walking among trees lowered blood pressure, the pulse rate, and levels of the hormone cortisol, which is released in response to stress”
  3. the more street trees on a city block the greater people’s perceived personal health and the reduced risk of afflictions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. (An increase of 10 or 11 trees per city block was the magic number).

And this is really the takeaway:

“Gregory Bratman of Stanford University, one of the researchers on the study, says moving to cities has “happened in a blink of an eye in terms of human evolution”.

As he points out, never before have so many of us been removed from nature – already 50% of the global population lives in towns and cities; a figure that is projected to rise to 70% by 2050.”

We need to salvage the connection to nature that has been lost in city-dwellers. As a resident of Sydney I’ve been lucky enough to find that connection in the ocean. Nothing beats diving under the waves and the smell of salt in the air. The relaxation and appreciation for nature I receive are of such great value to me.

As Nigel Dunnett, Professor of planting design and vegetation technology (what a great title!) at the University of Sheffield, points out in the article, humans “evolved with nature and it’s completely unnatural for us to be separated from it”.

We need to find ways to provide opportunities to connect with the natural to all urban residents.

(Read the BBC article for more on how this is influencing urban design thinking.)


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