Is there any charity/project/company/research trying to effectively improve people’s mental health by encouraging them to frequent green spaces?
Please, don’t misunderstand me, I’m no green activist, but I’ve seen so many mentions to increasing anxiety and depression (I’m not sure if it’s true), and so many diagnoses (it’s the internet, the economy, the culture...), and its rebuttals (“actually, everything is getting better, according to this graph...”), and Michael Plant has written many convincing pieces about the importance and neglectedness of mental health… but almost no one mentions that we’re the first (maybe the second) generation to spend most of our lives indoors. I could provide some anecdotal evidence, but I guess the link between green spaces and happiness is very plausible and generally not contested by literature.
(I wouldn’t say it could cure depression, but it might improve welfare. Our bodies and brains were designed by evolution to run on savannah and hunt big game… I mean, even people i know that went through stressful situations in the wild actually use to treasure these memories with joy; I mean, I know I was tired and and wet and trying not to freeze to death… but it seems like I was having fun. I don’t think anyone needs to get into the middle of the jungle to get the benefits of green spaces; we should probably observe some positive effect if we could just get young people from cold climates to go to a park a little bit during winter, instead of closing themselves at home for four months)
In my experience, the “most of our lives indoors” topic comes up in conversation at least occasionally within EA, sometimes accompanied by discussion of how important it is to go outside and move around. I often tell people that I go “stir-crazy” if I don’t get in a long walk at least once a day, and I’ve gotten zero confused reactions and quite a few “me too” reactions.
I don’t think the topic gets written about very often, but these Slate Star Codex posts (1, 2) did catalyze a lot of experiments with indoor plants.