An Excerpt from Jim
of May 26, 2007
issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve Headquarters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO
HEALTH & SANITY
That article mentions a 1984 study documenting that patients in hospital rooms overlooking trees recovered faster than those in rooms with windows opening onto brick walls. A little Googling led me to other such studies:
- Research done in 1983 showed absenteeism rising from 1.3% to 4.5% when an organization moved from a building with operable windows and natural ventilation to one with central air and sealed windows.
- A 1985 study reported that prison inmates with views of nature had fewer health-related stress symptoms than prisoners with views of buildings or prison walls.
- A 1991 work showed that stressed individuals who took 45-minute walks in an urban nature area dominated by trees reported improved emotional states and performed better at proofreading tasks than equivalently stressed individuals walking in an urban setting without trees.
- A 2001 study found that elementary school students in classrooms lit largely with daylight showed a 21% improvement in learning rates compared to students in classrooms with only artificial lighting.
In this world where diet supplements and other "health aids" occupy an enormous amount of shelf space at retail stores, why isn't it common knowledge that we heal faster in hospital rooms with views of trees instead of brick walls? In fact, why don't more people resist power companies cutting trees instead of burying cables underground as they do in Europe? And why isn't it criminal for land developers to clear forests from land even before they try marketing it? By now isn't it clear that attacking forests is attacking humankind?
Human behavior lags far behind evolving human understanding.
Someday, if humanity survives long enough to mature and grow wiser, the true value of windows with views of trees will be recognized not only at hospitals but at average people's homes. Architects will vie with one another to design structures inviting abundant natural light and fresh air, and average developers will sell lots with standing trees. Schools built amidst woodlots will be understood as providing environments most conducive to learning.
Someday, maybe, if humanity emerges from this era's wholesale destruction and general public ignorance of the Earthly biosphere, society will be reconstituted in ways harmonious with tree form and texture, people will live wind-through-trees kinds of lives, think sunlight-flecks-beneath-trees thoughts, and people will be so sensitized to, and informed about, the ecosystems around them that these present remarks will be utterly comprehensible. .