Friday, September 18, 2009

Nature = Health

It would be an understatement to say there's been a lot of buzz lately about global warming, green jobs, and many, many specific examples in the news of what we should and shouldn't be doing to the planet and its health, such as the potential ramifications of the Interoceanic Highway, currently under construction across South America.

But what of our health? What can nature do for us? Studies show that contact with nature (whether wild or designed) facilitates health and well-being. What does this say for the cancer ward that has no therapeutic garden attached to it; or the inmate whose only access to nature is an hour a day in a bare prison yard with a tiny patch of sky? In my book, it says they're suffering nature deprivation.

So, is access to nature an inalienable human right? The good people of the Therapeutic Landscape Network believe it is, or at least should be. Here's their mission statement. The TLN is spearheading a growing movement among healthcare and design professionals to bring nature back into our lives in some of the least likely places, such as hospitals and prisons.

It would be smart of the increasingly vilified healthcare industry to get behind this sort of intelligent and humane approach to wellness. We live in hope.

Echinacea image by Henry Domke, via the all new Therapeutic Landscapes Network website, an absolute treasure trove of information on the subject of restorative landscapes and gardens, and easy on the eye - a sort of online healing landscape (be sure to click on the birdsong audio for the full effect).

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