- According to the United Nations Secretariat’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2014 report on World Urbanization Prospects, 54 percent of the world’s population resided in urban areas. By 2050, 66 percent will. Also, by 2030, the world is projected to have 41 mega-cities with more than 10 million inhabitants.* That’s just too many people in one place to even fathom.
- According to a study sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, researchers from the University of Maryland found the average American spends approximately 92.4% of their time indoors.** The study published in 2001, built on earlier studies from the 1970s and 1980s which indicated much the same percentages. This means in the 30 years covered by this research, the desire to spend time with Mother Nature hasn’t improved.
These studies together indicate the trend is to spend as much time as possible in crowded city environments so there is little opportunity to spend time in the greater outdoors enjoying nature. ‘Looks like it will be even more important for we natural landscapers to promote native landscaping in yards and community greenspace in the future.
Over a four-year follow-up period, researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin concluded vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of depression by approximately 75%. The findings form part of the largest representative study of its kind and have recently been published in the The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA).
I think we all have known since our childhood that Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Remember your mother or grandmother insisting you get outside and soak up some Vitamin D from the sunshine? I certainly do. Today scientists have also linked other health issues such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases*** to lack of Vitamin D (er-r-r- sunshine). And with this study, they are now linking depression to the lack of sunshine.
Makes sense to me — not getting outside would make me cranky. So if not soaking up Vitamin D from the sunshine makes for cranky people, it is certainly understandable lack of Vitamin D could cause a depressed state of mind. And, we already know depression affects the ability to function successfully within society, reduces the quality of life and shortens lives.
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to add Vitamin D supplements to one’s diet, but it would be more enjoyable spending time outdoors soaking up the sunshine (Vitamin D) and connecting with Mother Nature to improve our attitude. Aren’t we fortunate that as natural landscapers, we get to enjoy the best of both opportunities!
* Today, Tokyo has approximately 38 million inhabitants, followed by Delhi with 35 million, Shanghai with 23 million, and Mexico City, Mumbai and Sao Paulo each with 21 million.
** This result was just part of the National Human Activity Pattern Survey (MHAPS) conducted to assess exposure to environmental pollutants.
*** Neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s and Multiple Schlerosis.
Thank you Jordan Bain for making me aware of this new study.