Being in nature, meanwhile, is associated with a positive mood, reduced mental fatigue and exhaustion, increased physical activity, boosted immunity, and enhanced productivity. Contact with nature reduces heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. It can reduce the intensity of the physiological response to stress and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
“The natural environment has been found to have a restorative quality, particularly for people who live in urban environments,” the Melbourne, Australia–based school stated in its paper. “Natural places such as parks offer an opportunity to become revitalised and refreshed.”
Research… has found that in American inner cities, the higher the amount of vegetation, the lower the crime rate. The more residential greenery, the higher the levels of optimism and sense of effectiveness. Furthermore, urban greenery has been associated with lower levels of domestic violence.
With so many benefits of nature on human health, however, Hancock warns that climate change and the ongoing deterioration of ecosystems around the world must be addressed.
“Human health depends on ecosystem health,” he says.
Climate change has several effects on human health: it has been shown to increase severe weather events, the rate of waterborne diseases, and urban air pollution. The health impacts of pollution and ecotoxicity, he says, increase cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and morbidity and can have widespread but subtle developmental, immunological, and behavioural effects.
And the effects of resource depletion are far-reaching, including malnutrition, hunger, social and economic decline, and conflict and war.
Hancock gives a nod to Chief Seattle, who is said to have stated: “Man did not weave the web of life; he’s merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”