Living near Nature may help improve your mental health amid coronavirus pandemic, study suggests

Green Living


Living near nature might just help mitigate some of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental health, according to a study by researchers from the University of Tokyo.

Published recently in Ecological Applications, it revealed that more frequent use of green spaces, such as parks and forests, and the presence of a green window view from within the home were associated with greater levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem and subjective happiness among adults living in a densely populated urban area.

Overall, the findings suggest that nearby nature may serve as a buffer in reducing the impact of an incredibly stressful event, such as the pandemic, on humans, said Masashi Soga, the study’s lead author and an associate professor at Tokyo’s Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“Protecting natural environments in urban areas is important not only for the conservation of biodiversity, but also for the protection of human health,” added Soga.

A “nature-based” solution

During the first few months of the pandemic, numerous governments worldwide implemented strict lockdown measures and enforced public health policies like social distancing to stem the spread of COVID-19.

While these measures did help slow the transmission of the coronavirus millions of people had to learn to adjust to the drastic changes in their routines, which included coping with the negative effects of the pandemic on their mental well-being.

In fact, recent studies suggest that social distancing guidelines, coupled with the fear of contracting COVID-19, are likely to result in a wide range of mental health issues, from an increased sense of loneliness to depression.

Interestingly, some recent studies found that spending time outdoors increases positive emotions and reduces negative ones. Other studies also showed that people visited green spaces more often during the pandemic. But it remains unclear how proximity to nature affects mental health patterns.

To this end, Soga and his colleagues conducted a survey on 3,000 adults living in Tokyo. The survey quantified the association between five mental health outcomes (subjective happiness, loneliness, depression and anxiety, self-esteem and life satisfaction) and three measures of experiences with nature (green views through windows of the home and frequency and duration of green space use).

When the researchers assessed the responses, they found that experiences with nature around the home and in green spaces can help prevent poor mental health or keep it from deteriorating during stressful times.

In particular, the responses indicated a positive relationship between mental health outcomes (life satisfaction, self-esteem and subjective happiness) and frequency of green space use around the home and green views from within the home. Respondents who reported using green spaces more frequently and lived-in homes with green views from windows also showed reduced levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

According to the researchers, there are three pathways through which green space use promotes better mental health.

The first is the health benefits of direct interactions with nature. Spending time in nature gives a person access to multi-sensory experiences, such as smelling flowers or listening to birds, which may help improve his or her mental health status.

Second, green space use is likely to encourage people to exercise. Exercising is considered beneficial for mental health, too. Third, green spaces also provide avenues for members of local communities to interact.

But even if social distancing guidelines limit these interactions, seeing other people or signaling to others from a distance may already be beneficial for people’s mental health. The researchers are also inclined to believe the three pathways work synergistically.

Furthermore, the responses indicated that people with green views from their windows reported better mental status for all five of the mental health measures considered than those who used greenspaces but had no green views.

This suggests that even less immediate experiences with nature, like looking out the window to trees, can have beneficial effects on mental health comparable to those of more immediate and direct experiences with nature.

Overall, the results suggest that promoting experiences with nature can be used as a “nature-based solution” for better public health at a time when people are under higher levels of stress and are confined within their homes.

“Prescribing” nature

With the pandemic showing no signs of letting up, restrictions are expected to stick around for a while. During extraordinary times like these, it is important to take steps to prevent stress from affecting your mental health.

As Soga and his colleagues found, just looking out the window to trees, grass and shrubs can be restorative. It would also help to go down to a local park or wooded area and spend a few minutes there to relieve stress and reduce anxiety.

Be mindful of the breeze and take a moment to notice the colors of flowers or the smell of leaves. Listen to the sound of rushing water or twittering birds. Jog through a tree-lined street in the morning or take a short stroll around the neighborhood after lunch.

As the Tokyo study shows, such experiences with nature can confer immense benefits on one’s mental health. (Related: Forest bathing: Spend time in nature to reduce your stress.)


The Green Orbit

This Tomato Soup Is Here to Provide Relief During Stressful Times

Delicious & Healthy


Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese Croutons

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into thin slices
1 fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
Kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 fresh basil sprig
1 fresh oregano sprig
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Pinch of sugar, plus more as needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Danish blue (about 1 cup), crumbled
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for spreading
4 slices country white or sourdough bread

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and a big pinch of salt, and then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, basil, and oregano, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the pot, and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the stock, the tomatoes and their juices, a big pinch of sugar, and a further big pinch of salt. Bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then purée in batches in a blender. (Alternatively, purée using an immersion blender.) Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt. If needed, add sugar until the soup loses its acidic tang.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash the blue cheese into the cream cheese until spreadable. Butter each bread slice on one side. Spread the blue cheese mixture evenly on the unbuttered sides, then combine to make two cheese-filled sandwiches.

Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches, cover with a lid, and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip, and cook, covered, for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until browned and the cheese has melted. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then cut into bite-size pieces. Immediately serve them atop bowls of soup.


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Cuba: International Workshop focuses on Latin women’s empowerment

GREEN NEWS


Havana, (Prensa Latina) A look at the empowerment and leadership of Latin women was offered on Wednesday by researcher Arcea Zapata on the last day of the International Workshop ‘Nuestras Miradas Americanas’ (Our American Views), which was held in Havana.

Available to Internet users on the YouTube platform of Casa de las Americas, the presentation by the Colombian author highlights how women defend their status as active social actors in the face of the challenges of the Latin population in the United States.

As she explains, her presentation aims to generate effective instances of cultural participation through artistic workshops for women to raise awareness of their identity and territory as youngsters in a hostile and patriarchal society.

As part of the meeting’s programming, Cuban writer Manuel R. Gomez gave a lecture on the characteristics of Cuban migration in the US since 1959 and the role of that population in the historic dispute between the two nations.

Meanwhile, Mexican Professor Carolina Aguilar referred to the social struggle and racism in US detention centers, whose government radicalized migration policies and criminalized the people who arrived recently. The workshop is sponsored by the Latin Program in the United States, which is attached to Casa de las Americas, a promoter of research, publication and advertising of the artistic and literary works by Latins in the US since 2009.


The Green Link

Workers rights for dignified living standards

THE GREEN FACTOR


Green politics, or ecopolitics, is a political ideology that fosters an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice, and grassroots social democracy. It began taking shape in the western world in the 1970s; since then, Green parties have developed and established themselves in many countries worldwide and have achieved some electoral success. In the United States, this movement has been slowly shaping the Democratic Party values.

When we talk about the earth’s environment, we are talking about the atmosphere, forests, plants, animals, water, and ecosystem. Everything from the roots of trees underground to the air we breathe is part of the environment, and each part’s health affects the health of the whole. There are a lot of threats to the environment. These include climate change caused by greenhouse gasses, air and water pollution, deforestation, and more. As a result of so many environmental severe threats, the earth is changing. Melting glaciers destroy habitat in the Arctic; plants and animals are becoming extinct at a staggering rate. It’s easy to look at that list and feel small and insignificant. After all, the earth has over 7 billion people. However, we have been failing to recognize that people are at the center of the planet. We must first protect the people for the people to protect the environment. We believe the first sentence in this paragraph must be changed to; when we talk about the earth’s climate, we first talk about people’s health.

After long hours of work and facing severe traumatic events, can front-line workers think about the environment? The answer is not. We need to make sure the green movement starts with people. A taxi driver, today on my way home, complained that his mom worked for 23 years without vacations. She is also part of the environment, and stress and working tiredness can harm her badly.

The United States passed many environmental legislation pieces in the 1970s, such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. These remain as the foundations for current environmental standards.

In the United Kingdom, To tackle unemployment, all employees are entitled to reasonable notice before dismissal after a qualifying period of a month. After two years, they can only be dismissed for a fair reason and are entitled to a redundancy payment if their job was no longer economically necessary. If an enterprise is bought or outsourced, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 requires that employees’ terms cannot be worsened without good economic, technical, or organizational reasons. The purpose of these rights is to ensure people have dignified living standards, whether they have relative bargaining power to get good terms and conditions in their contract.

In the United States, most workers are employed at will, meaning they can be fire without any reason. Employers are free to adopt at-will employment policies, and most of them have done it. Here employees without a written employment contract generally can be fired for a good cause, wrong cause, or no cause at all; judicial exceptions to the rule seek to prevent wrongful terminations. We hope that as we protect the environment with many needed acts, the United States will pass the Protection of Employment Act.


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The $36 Trillion Bill for Neglecting Climate and Free Trade

GREEN NEWS


In the Covid crisis, governments have struggled to find the right national policies—and also to coordinate an effective global response. They’ll have to do better when it comes to confronting the biggest challenges of the age: rising temperatures and a fracturing world economy.

Taken together, rapid action against rising temperatures and a renewed commitment to globalization would put the world economy on track for 2050 output of $185 trillion. Delaying moves to cut carbon emissions, and allowing cross-border ties to fray, could cap it at $149 trillion—the equivalent of kissing goodbye to the entire GDP of the U.S. and China last year.

If there were such a thing as a global economic planner, they would clearly pick the first option.

In the real world, it’s not that simple. Whether they’re in Washington DC or Beijing, Brussels or New Delhi, leaders don’t typically make the pursuit of a global optimum their top priority. They’re focused instead on national interests, and the relative economic strength that determines the geopolitical pecking order.

Choices in the fight against climate change, and the degree of cross-border integration don’t just affect the size of the global economic cake. They affect how it’s divided up as well.

An early start on cooling a hot planet would be good for everyone, but it would benefit Southern-hemisphere emerging markets much more than advanced Northern economies. And the same goes for globalization. More of it would make all countries better off—but the biggest gains would accrue to middle-income economies sprinting toward the technological frontier, not wealthier rivals attempting to cling onto their competitive edge.

In that sense, Donald Trump was right.

For the U.S., commitment to a low-carbon, free-trade future would—all else being equal—hasten the moment when it gets overtaken by China as the world’s biggest economy. In Bloomberg Economics’ baseline forecast, that seismic shift occurs in 2035. By 2050, China would have significantly extended its lead.

In an alternative future, where the U.S. delays action against climate change and throws up barriers to trade and technology transfers—as it has in the past four years—China catches up with the U.S. in the 2040s, but never moves decisively ahead. In a smaller and hotter global economy, the U.S. would still have a claim to the number one spot.

Forecasting this far into the future isn’t a precise science. Bloomberg Economics projections represent the best estimate of stylized models that don’t claim to account for every variable. Still, they provide a sense of the immense impact that paths chosen today will have on the size and shape of the world economy. And the conclusions are clear enough.

The Covid shock—more than a million dead and the worst recession since the 1930s—provides a wake-up call on the need for an early, aggressive and coordinated response to the threat of climate change and risk of de-globalization. That response will have distributional implications that may not look favorable to governments in the West, and they will be tempted to hit the snooze button.

Without farsighted leadership, progress on the greatest challenges of the age will be difficult to achieve.

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The Green Link

Air quality in New Delhi deteriorates

GREEN NEWS


New Delhi, Nov 15 (Plenglish) The Indian capital woke up today with air pollution levels beyond the emergency threshold, in a misty Sunday morning saturated by the smoke of firecrackers of the traditional Festival of Lights on Saturday.

The National Green Tribunal barred the sale and use of firecrackers in the New Delhi region in the days leading up to the also so-called Diwali or Deepawali; however, those emissions mixed with calm winds further worsened the air that people breathe in this populous city of 17 million people.

The capital is also affected by the burning of agricultural stubble in neighboring states, which represents 32 percent of PM2.5 particles pollution.

The level of those particles, which are three percent as thick as a human hair and can cause premature deaths from heart and lung diseases, were 396 micrograms per cubic meter this morning, a figure above the emergency threshold of 300.

The Central Pollution Control Board also said the level of heavy PM10 particles was at 543 micrograms per cubic meter, above the dangerous level of 500.

Experts believe that the air quality will fall into the category of serious plus or emergency if the PM2.5 and PM10 levels continue to be above 300 and 500 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively, during more than 48 hours.

According to the air quality monitor of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi recorded a global rate of 465, which falls into the severe category.

Luckily for the capital’s inhabitants, the India Meteorological Department announced a western disturbance that could increase the speed of the wind. Experts expect that gusts of up to 40 km per hour scatter pollutants in the atmosphere and thus improve air quality after Sunday or Monday.


Best Natural Home Remedies for Diabetes Mellitus: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

GREEN LIVING


Diabetes (known as diabetes mellitus) has become a common health problem. If not treated, it can lead to further complications such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, damage to the eyes (also known as diabetic retinopathy), nerve damage, kidney damage, foot damage or foot ulcers, skin conditions, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders that is characterized by high blood sugar levels. It is a group of diseases that influence how the body uses blood sugar. Blood sugar or glucose plays an important role in providing energy to the cells building tissues and muscles. Glucose is also considered as a fuel for your brain.

Natural Home Remedies For Diabetes

1. Guava

People from different countries like Taiwan, India, Japan, and China eat guava because of its numerous health benefits.

According to the Indian Ayurveda and ancient Chinese Medicine, guava leaves and guava fruit are effective natural home remedies for diabetes mellitus. Guava leaves extract contains a flavonoid called quercetin that has a hypoglycemic effect and an ability to reduce blood sugar. Both guava leaves and fruit possess more than 13 substances against diabetes. This fruit is also rich in pectin fiber, flavonoids, fructose, Arjun eolic, ursolic acid, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and niacin that are contributed to the benefit of guava in treating diabetes. The vitamin C abundant in guava is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the overall health, improves the immune system, and lowers the risk of heart disease. Studies also showed that significant compounds in guava can reduce the cholesterol level in the body.

2. Apples

Regular consumption of juicy, crunchy, and sweet apples can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Moreover, patients saw a great improvement in diabetes after eating an apple on a daily basis. Therefore, when we look for home remedies for diabetes, we should not ignore apples. This sweet fruit is also loaded with vitamin C, soluble fiber, and antioxidants. Pectin found in apples is beneficial in detoxifying the body, removing harmful wastes and toxins, and lowering the insulin. Moreover, apples can lower the risk for certain cancer, heart disease, and eye disease, complications of diabetes.

To help slow down the development of diabetes and control its symptoms, you just need to eat a small or medium-sized apple a day.

3. Cherries

Cherries are one of the best home remedies for diabetes because it is loaded with beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, folate, and fiber. Moreover, the anthocyanins present in cherries can boost insulin production by up to 50 percent, which lowers blood pressure and improves diabetes. Eating cherries can help to prevent cancer, heart disease, and other health problems that are often found in patients with diabetes mellitus

For this treatment, you just need to eat a one-half cup of cherries per day. Cherries can be consumed fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

4. Grapefruit

According to the American Diabetes Association, grapefruit is one of the recommended superfoods for diabetes. This fruit has a low glycemic index at 25 and contains a great source of vitamin C and soluble fiber.

6. Avocado

Because avocado contains a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber, this fruit helps diabetic patients feel fuller and more satisfied even though it did not lower blood sugar. According to a recent study published in Nutrition Journal, avocados don’t significantly affect blood sugar levels .

The Academic of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that monounsaturated fat plays an important role in improving heart health and preventing heart disease. People with diabetes mellitus are more vulnerable to stroke and heart disease. It is also loaded with potassium that lowers the risk of diabetes.


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254 MPH Voxan Wattman Is The World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle

GREEN AUTOMOTIVE


Like seemingly everything and everyone else in 2020, Voxan had to scale back its plans to take its Wattman electric motorcycle to Bonneville in a bid to break the world’s fastest electric motorcycle record. Instead of the miles and miles of perfectly flat salt bed, Voxan had to settle for the 2.17-mile runway of Marcel Dassault Airport in Châteauroux, France.

So yeah, the Voxan team smashed the previous record, and did so with enough left in the bag that a trip to a COVID-free Bonneville in 2021 should yield even more impressive results. We will eagerly await those, of course, but it’s worth talking about the team that’s doing this and set the stage properly for what is bound to be an epic sequel to this week’s speed record news.

[Complete Article]


The Green Link

The 13 Healthiest Leafy Green Vegetables

GREEN LIVING


What makes green vegetables so healing?

Green also means clean. Green vegetable have a strong link to detoxification, in part thanks to chlorophyll’s strong anti-bacterial qualities. But even more, chlorophyll can help to purify your liver as well, aiding in the removal of heavy metals, drug deposits, and chemical accumulation.

1. KALE

Kale is rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamins A, C and K. To reap the most benefits, it’s best eaten raw, as cooking reduces the nutritional profile of the vegetable.

2. MICROGREENS

Microgreens are immature greens, which have been popular since the 1980s. They’re flavorful and packed with nutrients like vitamins C, E and K. What’s more, they can be grown all year.

3. COLLARDS

Collard greens have thick leaves and are bitter in taste. They’re one of the best sources of vitamin K, may reduce blood clots and promote healthy bones.

4. SPINACH

Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways. It’s a great source of folate, which may prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, during pregnancy.

5. CABBAGE

Cabbage has thick leaves and comes in various colors. It has cancer-protective properties and can be turned into sauerkraut, which offers additional health benefits.

Three Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

GREEN LIVING


Dark chocolate is rich in minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. The cocoa in dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which may provide several health benefits.

Here are the three most important health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa supported by science.

  • Powerful Source of Antioxidants
  • May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure
  • Healthy circulation


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