Updated: May 17
It's a fact: we are losing Eden. The beautiful planet we live on has been farmed, built upon, and chemically sprayed to within an inch of its life. All of the plastic that has ever been made is still on the Earth, choking marine and land creatures alike - and getting into our blood streams. We are in the middle of a sixth mass extinction, largely caused by humans and climate change, which will reduce the diversity of life on this planet and have severe consequences for us. 'Fast fashion', largely made of plastic fibres, produces thousands of tons of metric waste, while it is estimated that an item of clothing gets worn only five times before it is discarded. Let us not beat around the bush here, if you're after something to forget all of that, then this is not the book for you.
It is the book for you if you want to educate yourself and to understand what we're in danger of losing, and what exactly nature does for us, and how it could help you every day. And don't let the somewhat staid cover fool you; this book truly opened my eyes to how amazing the wild really is.
'Nature is not a luxury: its presence or absence creates and causes different health outcomes for different groups of people' - Lucy Jones
Setting forth several arguments, backed up by emerging scientific and psychological studies, for why humans need the wild - and why it should not be treated as a luxury, but as a human right - this book will take you on an engaging, beautifully written and poetic roller coaster of understanding. Each claim that Jones makes has been meticulously researched, and there are hundreds of studies referenced, so if you're into science and fact-based conclusions, you will do well with this book.
'Paths and green spaces are vital to human health and happiness. Fresh, natural, clean air should be a human right' - Lucy Jones
Did you know, for example, that plants in hospitals, or a view of nature, can help people to heal quicker? That time in nature can help children with ADHD to focus for longer - an effect that lasts throughout the day? That people live longer in greener places? That trees release a chemical that actually reduces stress in humans? That the incidence of depression and mental distress is lower and life satisfaction is higher when people live near nature (and that includes those on lower incomes living in greener spaces)?
And this raises another question: could the benefits of connection with the natural world reduce the health gap between the rich and the poor?
'Children living in the poorest homes are 6 x more likely to have never set foot in an open space' - Lucy Jones
Jones tackles all of these questions and more - it was exactly what I wanted when I found the book: supported evidence of the astounding benefits of nature collected into one place, without so much of, what a lot of people call, the 'woo woo'.
But, what this book does that is most magical of all, after furnishing us with so much reason to regret losing Eden, is offer hope that we are slowly changing. And here I will leave you with a quote from the end of the book:
'When all the smaller changes add up then there is the possibility for transformation' - Lucy Jones