We spend almost our entire lives inside; this is bad for us and bad for our planet. Let me explain.
If you are lucky enough to live in a developed economy, it is likely that you will live to the age of 82. By this time, you will have spent over 70 of those years inside a man-made object, whether that is your house, office, car, or movie theatre.
Our ancestors lived in caves for shelter at night and spent the rest of the day outside working with and benefiting from nature. As vaccines signal the end of lockdowns – we need to start again enjoying the amazing world around us, perhaps then we will start to value and protect it.
Whether it is nightingales singing in Berkley square or the urban parakeet flocks in Central Park or the amazing centuries old trees that populate our urban landscapes – we are so close yet so far from the natural world around us.
We are of course getting better at addressing things like sick building syndrome and increasing the environmental integration of the buildings we live in with our environment and our daily lives. We have gone from the office pot plant to living walls and natural air ventilation systems rather than closed air-con systems. Our cities increasingly incorporate green and wild spaces – we need to promote and adopt these.
There are endless learned studies proving how spending time outside with nature reduces stress, increases our vitamin D levels, and generally makes us happier people. For our children– outdoor play is less structured than indoor play and helps them develop more circular and less linear thinking patterns.
We also owe it to ourselves and our children to get out in the urban green spaces as well as the countryside to understand that lamb does not come from the supermarket shelf but from the fields. We should walk and enjoy the countryside and support our local farm shops and understand the links between food production, countryside protection and the future of our environment.
As we begin to understand these links, we will begin to protect more those things we see and understand. Make a commitment to spend 21 hours a month out in Nature in 2021 whether exploring your local park at lunchtime or visiting our magnificent countryside at the weekends.
You have already been inside too long! Let’s get out and stay out.
Let’s get busy repairing the future.