Nature and Wellbeing
If we put aside our contemplation of the potentially overwhelming and consuming existential threat posed by changes in global climate, and instead focus on the more personal and the more immediate, what are the opportunities for us to contribute to human health and wellbeing and improve our relationship with the natural environment? And why should we do this?
British neurologist, naturalist and author Oliver Sacks writes: “Clearly, nature calls to something very deep in us. Biophilia, the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition. Hortophilia, the desire to interact with, manage, and tend nature, is also deeply instilled in us. The role that nature plays in health and healing becomes even more critical for people working long days in windowless offices, for those living in city neighbourhoods without access to green spaces, for children in city schools, or for those in institutional settings such as nursing homes. The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.”
It is through our project work with hospitals, learning environments, senior communities, social housing, and the public realm that we think about and strive to develop appropriate, healthy relationships between the natural and built environments, without degrading the former, and where individuals and communities can thrive through a sense of personal and public wellbeing.
Regrettably, it is not possible to put bigger issues to one side and it is through our own actions as a business that we can contribute to a regional, national and global response to climate issues. This is just a whole lot more urgent than it’s ever been.
Credits: Oliver Sacks, ‘Why We need Gardens’, published in ‘Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales”. Cited in: ‘Brain Pickings’ by Maria Popova.