Biophilia - Connecting with Nature
Humans need to feel connected to nature
The built environment around us affects our health, happiness and productivity. The study of biophilia has helped us to understand more about how nature impacts upon the health of human beings. Edward O. Wilson wrote Biophilia in 1984. He said that humans were drawn to seek zen in nature. In 2005, Richard Louv said that not seeing greens and nature could lead to Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). This is a low mood disorder that is similar to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Dr Miles Richardson of the University of Derby says “Being constantly driven at work can mean our threat response is overactive, positive emotions are reduced, and we become anxious. Nature reduces sympathetic nervous activity associated with drive, and increases parasympathetic nervous activity associated with calm.” We can feel more relaxed when we are in a forest, or looking at flowers. It is feeling connected to nature and after all, humans are part of nature too.
New research has found that plants and greenery can actually help students to learn. Research by Li and Sullivan, from the University of Illinois in 2016 (from the Landscape and Urban Planning Journal) found that students in high school will perform better in tests if they are in a classroom where they can see a green landscape, compared to being in a room where they can only see other buildings. The researchers found that students’ attention increased by 13% when they had a green view.
When someone is no longer focussed, they will focus on other things in an involuntary way. This involuntary focus does not require effort, so it gives the brain a chance to rest and restore, then refocus on the task. So if the student looks at the green view, they are effectively restoring their mental energy.
The researchers suggest that this should influence education planners and policymakers to ensure more greenery around schools and colleges.
It is important to remember that humans are part of the natural world and feeling connected to nature can help our mental and physical wellbeing.
If you are interested in developing a greener environment, why not consider looking at our courses in -
Green Walls and Roofs
Natural Garden Design
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