Green is Our Bodies Favourite Colour

Submitted by connor@tamarack... on June 22, 2017 - 5:39am

Last fall, I had to complete a modified photo voice assignment on things in my campus that had a positive or negative impact on student’s health. We essentially had to take a picture of something on campus then argue why it’s either good or bad for our health and use academic literature to support our argument.

 

This project was rather tricky.  

It is easy to dismiss something as unhealthy or claim that something is good for us, but it’s another thing to back up those claims with legitimate proof.

As I brainstormed for this project, I recalled hearing a previous professor mention that the environment around us has an impact on our health.

I did a little research, and found Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation by Jolanda Maas, Robert A Verheij, Peter P Groenewegen, Sjerp de Vries, and Peter Spreeuwenberg. 

This article was an eye opener for myself. I knew the environment effected our health and I knew green space was good for you, but I never thought about the impact urbanization has on both.

After I finished reading, I went out and took this picture of a big green field on my campus and began writing.

The problem with urbanization is that most green areas are being taken down to build new sub-urban divisions which is creating neighbourhoods with limited green space. 

The authors of this study found that people with green space within a 1-3 kilometre radius of their home had a positive impact on perceived health.(1) They also found that the positive impact on perceived health was high for the age groups of 0-24 and 65-80.(1) Green space is beneficial to those who spend more time at their home.(1)

The study also found that the little green space implemented in urban areas has a negative impact on the health of adults.(1)

Like every article relating to health I read, I think this article is important and also applies to multiple sectors. 

I think this is important to city planners because they must take into consideration green space when they are developing new living areas.

I think this is important to health professionals because green space has been linked to lower stress levels(2) and could be an area where health related interventions are hosted.

Finally, I think this is important to the everyday citizen because everyone experiences stress. This means that people can go for a walk in a park or a trail and they will benefit from the green space and the bonus of physical activity as well. 

Thanks for reading!

References:

  1. Maas J, Verheij RA, Groenewegen PP, De Vries S, Spreeuwenberg P. Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?. Journal of epidemiology and community health. 2006 Jul 1;60(7):587-92.
  2. Thompson CW, Roe J, Aspinall P, Mitchell R, Clow A, Miller D. More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns. Landscape and Urban Planning. 2012 Apr 15;105(3):221-9.

 

Further Reading:

  1. Why Citizens Should Prepare for Emergencies and How to Do It by Sylvia Cheuy 
  2. Happiness - A State of Mind or Part of a Bigger Social Spectrum by Connor Judge