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Mindful : June 2013
Can you see a tree from where you’re sitting right now? How about a plant? Anything living, besides other people? Can you open the window and take a big breath of fresh air? If your answer to these questions is no, if you’re one of those people who spends all day breathing the lifeless output of a building-ventilation system, then you may be encountering nature deficit. And it’s ma king your life less enjoyable, less healthy, a nd more stressed. We are in the midst of the largest wave of urbanization in human history. The United Nations reports that more than half of all people on Earth now live in cities. For A mericans, the figure is even starker: 80% are urban dwellers. And get this: the Environmental Protec- tion Agency reports that the average American spends 90% of his or her time indoors. “It’s the first time in human history that we are virtually divorcing ourselves from the natural world,” warns Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature- Deficit Disorder. “ We can’t expect to make such a sudden, drastic turn in our every- day lives w ithout repercussions.” It was Edward O. Wilson, known as the father of sociobiology, who pioneered → Up the Garden Path If the closest you get to nature is an image on your screen saver, science recommends getting a better dose of green. Here are three ways. By Carsten Knox Photographs by Alexi Hobbs June 2013 mindful 35 nature