Friday, August 15, 2008

Going Outside Helps the Environment

A few wispy clouds in the valleys but otherwise a straight view to the mountains, lovely.

It seems like a no brainer - taking a walk outside makes you more environmentally aware but now we have research to support the idea.

Psychologists did two studies, each involving going outside for only 15 minutes. Both reported people feeling happier, more energetic (I could have told you that) and more concerned about the environment. People who did not go outside over estimated their happiness.

Anyone raising children could have told you that too. Just watch a child's compassion grow when they experience nature at work. But we needed a book to tell us too just in case we haven't gotten the message. If you are still skeptical about the power of being outside, read Last child in the Woods by Richard Louv.

The impact of nature is nothing new. Henry Thoreau wrote Walden over 150 years ago and in his owns words: ''I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.'' Some might find his book boring by today's standards but the message is loud and clear and boy could he write.

Taking this advice to heart, I am off for a camping vacation to my beloved White Mountains where I refresh my love for the outside, relax without the interference of cell phones and computers and enjoy good friends around...yup...the camp fire. This year is especially exciting since all 3 of my children actually now want to come. They are over the hump of being with boring adults and actually like the time together finding swimming holes and playing games by crank lights into the night. The transition has been wonderful to witness and so it seems going outside has paid off.

So give new meaning to take it outside. Go outside yourself, push your kids out or suggest to a loved one to spend just 15 minutes a day outside. It's good for all and apparently good for the environment too.

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