Why you should skip the plant store and head to the park
October 22, 2019
We’re wired for nature and we’re just not getting enough of it. Experts say that we need to spend 20 minutes in nature every day if we want to experience its benefits on our physical and mental health.
20 minutes a day is not easy to do, but it’s achievable.
There are powerful forces consipiring to keep us inside our homes. We can now shop online, work at home, watch movies without ever leaving the comforts of home, and that’s just a start.
Because we’re craving exposure to nature, we’re increasingly trying to bring the great outdoors into our interior spaces.
Here’s some examples of how these symptoms of nature deficit are made manifest in our interior spaces, and what we can do about it.
Indoor Plant Obsession:
People have gone crazy-bonkers-gaga for their indoor plants. Have you noticed? Last year, the Globe and Mail reported:
Millennials are obsessed with houseplants. Becoming a “plant parent” seems to be all the rage now for 20- to 35-year-olds. Millennials love plants so much, that in the last three years, houseplant sales in the U.S. have increased 50 per cent to $1.7 billion, according to the National Gardening Association.”
Even if you’re not a proud “plant parent” yourself, you’ve likely encountered the trend on Instagram. If your not a techie, you’ve seen the plethora of books on plants. A simple search for #plantsofinstagram turns up great material like this:
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#plantstagram #plantmom #plantsarefriends #plantparenthood #plantsmakepeoplehappy #ihavethisthingwithplants #propagation #plantsofinstagram #houseplantsofinstagram #instaplants #plantporn #crazyplantlady #girlswithplants #houseplantclub #houseplantjournal #indoorplants #indoorgarden #jungle #urbanjungle #urbanjunglebloggers #plants #instaplants #plantlove #plantmemes
And the adorable hashtag #plantshelfie (get it?) turns up this kind of stuff.
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Interiors have gone Green
Farrow and Ball, the storied UK paint brand has a current line created with the Natural History Museum in London and it’s called Colour by Nature. Here’s their introductory text:
The Natural History Museum in London is a global authority on nature, conservation, and scientific discovery, creating wonder for all who visit. Who better, then, to help us capture the true colours of the world around us, and to bring those colours into your home?
Not conviced? Just watch.
According to Elle Decor biophilia is a major trend for home decor in 2019–giving a name to our obsession with natural, organic materials–such as wood floors, stone, and daylight and plant life.
Rest assured, I’m not criticizing the need to bring nature indoors. In fact, I love my plant babies. But, lately, I’m trying to remind myself that my craving for plants should point me toward the outdoors rather than toward the plant store. Here’s what I try to remember:
- We’re wired for nature: Make time for the outdoors. Aim for 20 minuites a day. Eat your lunch in the park, take a route to work that brings you into contact with nature, use your free time to seek out nature.
- We’re wired to be with other people: Yes, inside is cozy. Family is lovely. Netflix is nice. But, we need other people. We’re increasingly socially isolated and polarized. A great article called We don’t know our neighbors anymore. Here’s what that costs us highlights the work of Elizabeth Dunn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who has found that “face-to-face relationships — those with acquaintances — contribute to our well-being.” We all instinctively know this.
- Parks deliver both (and more): Where can you go to get your 20 min daily dose of nature and enjoy the company of others? There’s really only one place for that. It’s your animated city park. It’s a double-dose of the stuff we humans need most.
It’s really in our nature to be outside. City parks give us the opportunity to get our 20 minuites a day without having to travel into the depths of wilderness. And, I promose, your plant babies will barely miss you.