Beliefnet
Fresh Living

paul_bloom_nyt.jpgGiving props to the NYT Magazine’s green issue from yesterday. It’s full of good stuff about the human psychology/brain wiring barriers to becoming greener. A really good read, and not just because I love the Momix-sculpted (Spencer Tunick-inspired) cover.

The main story that got me was “Natural Happiness: The self-centered case for environmentalism.” Yale prof Paul Bloom mentions loads of studies that illustrate the stress-reducing power of nature. Even just having a window that looks out onto trees helps hospital patients heal faster, keeps prisoners healthy, autistic kids more balanced, Alzheimer’s sufferers more cognizant. He mentions “nature-deficit disorder“–author Richard Louv’s theory about how kids’ decreased contact with the natural world is making them a little bit nutso, not to mention fat and indifferent to the environment.

Congress is about to reintroduce the “No Child Left Inside” act, a move to introduce environmental education in schools that would include outside adventures since kids spend 50 percent less time indoors now that they did 20 years ago. Yikes.

But what about us grown-ups? Are you getting your daily Vitamin N? I spend eight hours a day staring at a computer screen and other buildings, nary a sprig in sight. And wonder how much more chill I would be if I could gaze at a river or swaying branches or frolicking bison. (Ok, maybe no bison, though I did see a bunch at the zoo this weekend and they were gorgeous in their own bizarrely proportioned way).  But I do make sure to walk through parks, get out of the city, connect with trees, etc. How do you get your nature fix?

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