Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Re-establishing the link

Can we develop a value-based economic structure, that is not concerned solely with our material well-being, but embraces the whole human being – body and spirit – as well as the rich biodiversity of the Earth? Can we give value to the non-extractive benefits of the environment in our economic policies?
An interesting article in The Guardian talks of the need to explore ways that businesses can serve humanity in its deepest sense, rather than creating a poverty of spirit as well as an ecological wasteland – develop an awareness that the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the energy we use are not just commodities to be consumed, but part of the living fabric of a sacred Earth. Then we are making a real relationship with our environment.
Green is more than a fad. Green is what benefits us as was discovered long ago. We know we are happy when on a mountain slope or by a riverside or a forest. Yet, experiments have been done to check this, our connection to nature and how we benefit. In 2005 and 2006, a Japanese team brought a group of middle-aged Tokyo businessmen into the woods. For three days, they hiked in the morning and again in the afternoon. By the end, blood tests showed that their NK cells had increased 40 percent. A month later, their NK count was still 15 percent higher than when they started. By contrast, during urban walking trips, NK levels didn’t change. However a walk in suburban park had a similar effect! Using Japan’s forest therapy that tracks data to prove the non-extractive benefits of forests, these scientists and hikers are helping prove what we should already know: That nature is worth preserving.
Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh had used portable EEGs to monitor the brain activity of 12 healthy young adults. Different participants walked through different areas of Edinburgh -- one was an historic shopping district, one was a park-like setting, and one was a busy commercial district. The least stressed and frustrated were those in the park.
Can our policies these time-tested theories that go to show the inherent benefit nature provides us that go beyond the materialistic gains?

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