The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems, and the importance of nature on our wellness (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) which is rooted in peer-reviewed science. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.”
The benefits of biophilia
• trigger endorphin effect
• lower blood pressure
• boost the brain’s attention
• accelerate patients’ recovery at home and hospitals
• reconnect with nature
• protect the environment and tackle air pollution
Green spaces help kids get smarter
Research suggests that children who are exposed to green spaces, especially while at school, had improved working memory and decreased inattentiveness as well as a scored higher on academic tests. A Belgian study suggests that a low residential green space in urban children is associated with a “shift” towards a higher incidence of low IQ (Bijnens, et al. 2020) which suggests that bit more green space (3%) for kids can boost their IQ by 2.6 points and reduce aggression by two points.
There is a Nordic word: friluftsliv – the healing power of nature.
Key benefits of the biophilia effect for kids are:
- Improving focus
- Boosting creativity
- Getting more out of the workouts
- Less pain and better sleep
- Increasing vitamin D levels
- Higher IQ
- Lower aggression levels
According to research-heavy studies, the biophilia effect can be enhanced just with views and pictures of nature (and watching nature programmes). Spending time in nature, parks, woods, forests, by the sea, etc is the best option. And having many plants at home and workplace. For example, a 2015 study proved that “microbreaks” in nature (just looking at green roofs in cities rather than concrete roofs) improve cognitive functioning.
Forest bathing is a form of meditation in the natural world based on the biophilia hypothesis and there is growing research on the befits of the forest bathing. ‘Forest bathing’ is a translation of the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, developed in the 1980s for the good of public health. Other popular Japanese lifestyle concepts are wabi-sabi, the art of imperfection, kanso and danshari.
Planting and preserving trees is one of the key ways to lock up carbon, clean our air and provide environments for wildlife. It makes good financial sense, too. The statistics are clear, Natural England, suggests that for every £1 spent on trees, the UK saves £7 in healthcare, energy and environmental costs. According to a poll by YouGov, nine in 10 Londoners think it is important that we have more trees in London. I’m sure it would be the same for other cities and towns on this planet.
“We need to get away from the idea that nature is for the countryside and not for cities.”
Dan Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla geographer and explorer
Carl Jung said, ” We all need nourishment for our psyche. It is impossible to find such nourishment in urban tenements without a patch of green or a blossoming tree.” Voltaire said, ” “Il faut cultiver notre jardin,” and walked his talk by planted thousands of trees on his land in eastern France to confirm: “I have only done one sensible thing in my life – cultivate the ground. He who tills a field renders a better service to mankind than all the scribblers in Europe.” Freud was an avid orchid lover and cherished his garden in West Hampstead, London. There is a Nordic word: friluftsliv – the healing power of nature.
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