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The Biophilia Hypothesis
Green trees, tall trees, trees with no leaves, shrubs, sky, grasses, decomposition, stones, birds flying, insects flittering, "Ahhhh." You know the feeling. You drive up to the foothills, forest or the park and once you have arrived you know it, not only by the sight but also by the way you feel. You feel sublime and your body relaxes. You may even think to yourself "I needed this". Needed what? What is that feeling all about?
Sure it's about getting fresh air, stretching your legs and leaving unread emails behind but it's more than that. It's about Biophilia (pronounced Bi-oh-feel-ee-ya). The direct translation of the word Biophilia means love of nature but the way it is used to mean love of living cycles, or, nature. The Biophilia Hypothesis, introduced to the world in the 1980's by respected scientist E.O Wilson, suggests that there is a deep and instinctual bond between people and nature. Think about it- we came from nature, developed in nature, we are nature.
These days with so many humans living within environments that offer varying degrees of nature, from the forest all the way to having hardly any nature at all, scientists have had ample opportunity to explore the bond people have to nature. To do this scientists compare people that have more access to nature to those who have less. Another way they might make the comparison it is to analyze one person, like yourself, in a more natural setting and then again in a less natural setting. If you were a subject of study like that, pause for a moment and think about what differences their might be.
Basically they have found that a lack of nature is not good for us and that our love of nature is also a need for nature. Throughout history many people knew this from intuition so they started a movement to conserve and restore nature back into our lives by forming organizations who act, and educate. The movement, backed by science has gained respect, momentum and no longer belongs to a special few. The movement now belongs to all who want to maintain and improve quality of life. Tree Fresno is an urban forestry organization who attempts to do that through trees. We want to redefine the city as a dynamic place where one can find the best that life has to offer including more and better access to nature. And being based in Fresno heat we are all aware of a definite need for a trees shade. There is no replacement for that.
This blog is aimed at sharing with you what we have learned about how trees improve our health as well as our urban environment. While the blog is guided by trees, science and set in present day, it is not to exclude the bigger picture, that nature is a balance within the web of relationships between all things, not just trees, and the use of science is not to replace the intuition and raw observations of many nature stewards that came long before us.
Nature is everywhere- Do you have a little patch of nature near by? Go check it out. Look at the big details and the small.