When I quit a lucrative career in Silicon Valley I thought to work as a naturalist educating young people. The pay was so low I found only the young and the old could afford to be that poor. I once was stranded in Nevada with a broken truck and I had to sleep in it at the repair shop for a week until it was fixed. I had hoped to homestead and do a positive survival thing but I found the most amazing woman and realized that I would need real money if I were to have a family and do nearly anything in the world. I chose against a solitary though aesthetic and ascetic existence with the hope that I would advance the cause from within rather than just leave it. I have never liked monastic Buddhism precisely because its greatest proponents lived aside from the world and I wished to change the world for the better. I also need to live in the middle of the world, natural and human, and enjoy its culture and advance its deep, human beauty. After all I am a philosopher. Ongoing research confirms the need for green space.
Green space in urban communities can make life better for those living around it, a new study finds.
Using survey information from thousands of United Kingdom households collected over 17 years, researchers from European Center for the Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter in England seemed to confirm what naturalists have long asserted — that living in a greener area has a significant positive effect on people.
Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of NY’s Central Park, one of my heroes, insisted that nature and city be combined as man had made great inroads into nature and the reverse was in order. In particular he castigated southern culture.
My own observation of the real condition of the people of our Slave States, gave me … an impression that the cotton monopoly in some way did them more harm than good; and although the written narration of what I saw was not intended to set this forth, upon reviewing it for the present publication, I find the impression has become a conviction.
Wiki: “Southern civilization was restricted to the wealthy plantation owners; the poverty of the rest of the Southern white population prevented the development of civil amenities taken for granted in the North, he said.”
‘The citizens of the cotton States, as a whole, are poor. They work little, and that little, badly; they earn little, they sell little; they buy little, and they have little – very little – of the common comforts and consolations of civilized life. Their destitution is not material only; it is intellectual and it is moral… They were neither generous nor hospitable and their talk was not that of evenly courageous men.’
Sadly monocultural agriculture is the least expensive and most profitable. We used to truck farm and sell at Farmer’s Markets. Little money, too much time. Another career for the young, the old, or branches of farms doing conventional agriculture. The adoption of a national Organic standard allowed organic chemicals to replace synthetics and gave market advantage to industrial farms. So we did what most small farms do around here, grow hay and work for some one else to pay the bills. 100 acres are in conservation easement protection and someday when needed the land will be ready and healthy.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, examined data from a national survey that followed over 5,000 UK households and 10,000 adults between 1991 and 2008, as they moved around the country.
The survey had asked participants to report on their own psychological health during that time to estimate the “green space effect,” said the study.
Indeed, individuals reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when they lived in greener areas, the data showed.
That general state of heightened well-being continued even after the University of Exeter’s Dr. Mathew White and his colleagues took into consideration changes over time in the incomes, employment, marital status, physical health and housing types of the study participants.
The two biggest written influences in my career decisions were “What Color is Your Parachute” and “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” Not entirely though as choices are never so clear. After a degree and a child we chose to live on a boat and sail around the world. When lack of funds and disposition stopped that we chose to live on a farm.
“We’ve found that living in an urban area with relatively high levels of green space can have a significantly positive impact on well-being, roughly equal to a third of the impact of being married.” White said.
The effect was also found to be equivalent to a tenth of the impact of being employed, as opposed to unemployed, the study said.
I lived in Minneapolis MN for a number of years and while I appreciated the great number of parks and greenways there I found it too urban, cold, and Lutheran-Catholic. I also realized then that I had always thought where I lived was actually more important to my well being than with whom I lived. I am at the far end of this spectrum. Nature feeds me and I wanted a partner that inspired me but would also love and wish to live in natural beauty–yet enjoy travel, culture, and participating in society. From the BBC source.
Beth Murphy, information manager at the mental health charity Mind, said: “For people living busy lifestyles in densely populated areas, being able to get outdoors and access green space is a great way to escape the stresses of day-to-day life.
“Our research has shown that 94% of people who took part in outdoors ‘green exercise’ said it benefited their mental health and can have huge impacts on physical health.
It would be utterly disastrous for everyone to move to the country so I am grateful to those who prefer city life. I am excited data shows the benefit (I would say need) of nature. The hippie movement was disastrous to the environment. Often, being suburbanites, their obliviousness to ecology science and blind faith that their footprints were beautiful turned land to dust. I hope this research continues to influence the structures of cities to include green spaces without creating a rural land rush. I hope the MacMansions blossom gardens and trees rather than fences and grass. I hope the book “The Apartment Farmer” regains an audience. I hope we continue to care and create parks, forests, and wild lands.
We both cut the cord of monetary success and career path so we could live in nature or close to it. Right now I sit in front of a window on a hill overlooking the back fields. The sun is warm, the horses are in view, I can hear the chickens and birds, my books are beside me, I can’t see my neighbors, my culture is at my fingertips, and a bigger world, DC, is an hour and a half away. I haven’t skipped out on social involvement for the good. But for the money, life is good!
Jim Newman. bright and well