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The Ecosystem Works for Us All

We are all familiar with the strength of groups of people who work togehter in a company or organization. We can do so much more in a "system" than as isolated individuals. The same principal holds true for the environment. Nature is a system of individuals that cooperate to create a system of activities and the whole is amazing -- a life support system for everyone involved -- plants, animals...and yes, humans!

The plants, animals, water, weathere, minerals and even seeming nusiences such as bacteria and viruses and molds -- all play their part in a balanced natural system. Here are the services a healthy environment provides in our robust life support system -- the planet:

Ecosytem services.

After Anon (2002).
  • Global life-support services (e.g. atmosphere and climate regulation, carbon storage)
  • Landscape formation (e.g. river and coastal geomorphological processes)
  • Flood and erosion control Waste decomposition and disposal
  • Water quality and quantity (e.g. aquifer recharge)
  • Pollination (e.g. crops and flowers)
  • Pollution control (e.g. noise and wind reduction, physical pollution capture, land preparation)
  • Biological control (e.g. pest reduction)
  • Soil provision (e.g. soil formation processes and soil erosion prevention)
  • Habitat provision (e.g. spawning grounds for commercial fish)

The benefits of nature rich environments

The health benefits of nature go beyond vital ecosystems services. Within the urban context, contact with nature can contribute to physical and mental well-being of individuals, and the development of social capital. There is a growing body of research evidence to support this assertion.

Health benefit arising from nature contact.

  • Physical Stress reduction including reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Reduction in muscle tension and skin conductance.
  • Increased levels of physical activity leading to a reduction in heart disease risk factors (systolic blood pressure, plasma cholesterol, plasma triglycerides), and increased immunity function.
  • Mental Improved self-awareness, self-esteem, self-concept, and positively effected mood state.
  • Reduction of negative feelings such as anger, fear, anxiety and frustration.
  • Improved ability to recover from stressful episodes.
  • Effective alleviation of the symptoms of anxiety, depression and psychosomatic illness (including irritability, insomnia, tension, headaches and indigestion).
  • Improved psychological health, especially emotional and cognitive aspects (including reduced symptoms of ADD).
  • Restored capacity for concentration and attention
  • Spiritual Inspire feelings of peace, oneness, connectedness and strength.
  • Reflection on personal values.
  • Reduced psychosis, substance abuse,
  • Social Neighbourhood based nature activities promote sense of community, sense of place, and enhance social ties.
  • Expanded social networks.
  • Enhanced social inclusion and cohesion.
  • Improved quality of life and neighbourhood satisfaction.

Green Exercise Programs

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For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists