I think many of us have heard about the emerald ash borer which arrived in North America from overseas in 2002. This insect thrives on and consequently kills ash trees within 4 years of infestation. We have witnessed the impact this little bug is having on our landscape as once living treed areas in our neighbourhoods and parks now stand vacant. In reviewing statistics in areas ravaged by the emerald ash borer, the US Forest Service found increased mortality rates. According to http://bit.ly/WfquPq “more people were dying of cardiovascular and lower respiratory tract illness” and furthermore “as the infestation took over in each of these places, the connection to poor health strengthened”.
I have always said that trees are the lungs of earth, without them we degrade and sometimes destroy the ability of our planet to sustain biodiversity and apparently our very own wellbeing and lives. Think of the many things trees do for us. They filter and cool our air, provide the web of life with oxygen, shelter, food; prevent soil erosion and inexplicably provide us with a sense of wellbeing. Take for example the experiment of Roger Ulrich in 1984.
In this experiment Ulrich studied the differences of patients recovering from gall bladder surgery by placing half of the recovering patients in their beds with a view of the outdoors with trees and the other half with the view of a brick wall. Those facing the outdoor treed view recovered faster and requested fewer medications. Environmental psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan attribute this phenomenon to nature’s restorative nature, to her ability to lull us into a hypnotic state which soothes us into a positive state of well-being.
In the spirit of the above documented information perhaps it is time for us to consider a “Nature Cleanse”? We’re all plugged in, juggling work, family, self…rarely a moment to just stop and listen to the sound of one’s own breath and heartbeat. Kathy Smart, published author and chef gave Earth Matters permission to share her Recipe “to get back in touch with the things that really matter in life”. Firstly Kathy reminds us that “There is no Wi-fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection”. Secondly she suggests this different kind of Detox http://bit.ly/Yy3sQc
-Turn off your cell phone for at least 2 solid hours, or better yet, 12 hours!
-Take a look around you and see how blessed you are and think about it!
-Make yourself a vegetable juice or even buy a carrot juice.
-Add a salad to every meal.
-Breathe, not just really fast to say you did…but a deep belly breath!
-Sleep a solid 8 hours.
-Get out into nature, even just for 10 minutes.
-Laugh…like really laugh!
-Take a moment to open the door for an older person, help someone else or play with your child or pet.
-Smile…life is really good.
Why not give yourself the gift of spending a little time in the rejuvenating outdoors today? It might just be what the doctor ordered.
Your commentary is encouraged and always welcome below or to earthmatters@jmilner.