A case of biophilia
BY Christine Bowen
ON October 6, 2017
The term “biophilia” is used to describe human’s preference for natural settings and wild creatures.  I have a huge case of biophilia, and thought you should all know why.  
The most obvious answer is that it is beautiful. No matter where you are, nature is stunning.  From sparkling water drops on a leaf to the yellow of a coyotes eye, from a field of colorful waving flowers to the puffed cheeks of a chipmunk, from the soft grass under your feet to the cool breeze caressing your cheek, from the melodious call of an Baltimore oriole to the crunch of leaves underfoot, from the howl of the wind to a buzzing bee, from the scent of fresh cut grass to the sweet smell of apple blossoms. Everyone can find something beautiful in nature!
Another reasons that I love nature is that it provides our bodies with more benefits than we are even aware of! Conservation areas draw people into the outdoors in a way that’s fun and still promotes physical activity. Hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, skiing, kayaking, bird watching, swimming… Nature is what lets us do all these adventurous, enriching activities that promote physical health. Imagine hiking on sidewalks, camping in parking lots and bird watching the pigeons on top of skyscrapers. Go out in Nature and you will come back with stronger muscles. And since not everyone has the money or the option to attend a gym to work out at, parks and nature areas are excellent places that are inexpensive and accessible to everyone.
It’s not just physical benefits that we get!  Various studies have concluded that simply viewing nature reduces stress & the symptoms that come along with it such as headaches and digestive illnesses. Office workers with windows providing a view of nature were found to have much lower stress levels than their colleagues with windows facing an urban environment.  Studies have discovered that walks in nature also increase attention and working memory, compared to those walking in an urban environment. Since our brains use 20% of our body’s oxygen, it makes sense that some fresh air can be beneficial for our learning and concentration.
Nature puts us in our place, give us perspective.  It soothes the soul. How can you worry about those few unanswered emails when you see a robin searching for worms? As Barbara Kingsolver said, “People need wild places. Whether or not they think they do, they do. They need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda moves at the pace of speciation and ice ages. To be surrounded by a singing, mating, howling commotion of other species, all of whom love their lives as much as you do, and none of whom could possibly care less about your economic status or your running-day calendar. Wilderness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd.”
So I challenge you, got out in nature this weekend. Your mind, body and soul will thank-you for it! You may not know it, but you should have a case of biophilia!
Author Bio - Christine Bowen
Program Coordinator for Bay Area Restoration Council
Program Coordinator for Bay Area Restoration Council

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