Day Three: Nature Reset

Snow blows through the sun’s rays between Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir.

Denmark has lots of data on its people. Because they are a social democracy and have been since the War, their databases are vast: a libertarian’s nightmare. When scientists wanted to study anecdotal evidence that living a lot of green space lowers your risk of mental health disorders, they turned to Denmark.  

The study “…includes all persons born in Denmark from 1985 to 2003 and living in Denmark on their 10th birthday for whom we have longitudinal data on mental health outcomes, socioeconomic status, and place of residence (n = 943,027).” Basically, the whole of Denmark born in that window. That’s a lot of Danes. The correlated their Danes with high-resolution satellite imagery, in concentric squares around their residences, using an index of vegetation levels.  

Then they controlled for “…urbanization, parents’ socioeconomic status, family history, parental age, municipal socioeconomic factors, and a combination of all five potential confounding factors…” and found only slight changes.  

Their results are staggering. A childhood with a high level of green space correlates to as much as a 55% decrease in the risk of most psychiatric disorders. This shouldn’t be such a surprise. Multiple studies have shown that nature is good for us. See here, and here, and here for just a few.  

I’m incredibly lucky to live in the WUI (pronounce it woo-eee, so it sounds as fun as it sometimes can be!), which stands for Wildland Urban Interface. I am able to get a Nature Reset just by stepping out my front door. (I also get scavenging bears, a mountain lion who is going to eat me one day, and wildfires, so it isn’t all hiking and basking in tree-dappled shadow listening to birdsong.)

I hope that all of you, wherever you are, can find at least one little patch of green space to expose yourself to during this time. A Nature Reset is something we can do for our physical and mental health without incurring much increase in risk to ourselves and our fellow citizens, as long as we follow the rules. And it allows us to do what tech support always tells us to do for our electronics: unplug ourselves and plug ourselves in again. And just like a misbehaving laptop, I find I work much better after.  

Signing off. Stay safe, everyone, and take care of each other.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *