The study by Miles Richardson, Zaheer Hussain and Mark D. Griffiths in the Journal of Behavioral Addiction concludes that the widespread use of smartphones and their Internet-based technologies is the dawn of another new technology that shapes and defines day-to-day human behavior. Technology potentially reduces our connectedness with nature, with costs for the well-being of people and the environment that sustains us. A greater connectedness with nature may provide a break from smartphone usage and potentially be used to overcome the different pathways to smartphone addiction, but a connectedness with nature should not be simply framed as an antidote. The emerging evidence is that nature connectedness is a key part of a healthy life and planet.
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With rapid urbanization and declines in human contact with nature globally,
crucial decisions must be made about how to preserve
and enhance opportunities for nature experience.
A research paper published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science provides points of consensus across the natural, social, and health sciences on the impacts of nature experience on cognitive functioning, emotional well-being,
and other dimensions of mental health.
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Thirty years after scientists coined the term “hygiene hypothesis” to suggest that increased exposure to microorganisms could benefit health, University of Colorado Boulder researchers have identified an anti-inflammatory fat in a soil-dwelling bacterium that may be responsible.
The discovery, published Monday in the journal Psychopharmacology, may at least partly explain how the bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, quells stress-related disorders. It also brings the researchers one step closer to developing a microbe-based “stress vaccine.”
“We think there is a special sauce driving the protective effects in this bacterium, and this fat is one of the main ingredients in that special sauce,” said senior author and Integrative Physiology Professor Christopher Lowry.
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" Today, there is not a single county in the United States where someone making minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment. In Atlanta, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report,
the “housing wage” needed to pay for a modest two-bedroom unit is
$21.27 an hour. (Georgia’s minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.)
In Boston, a tenant earning minimum wage would have to log 141 hours a week
to afford the same residence. In San Francisco, it’s 203 hours,
or the equivalent of five full-time jobs."
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Trees can play a huge role in the health of people living in cities, but across the country, cities are losing millions of trees year after year. And many poor urban neighborhoods — often home to a city's most vulnerable — are starting at a disadvantage.
"If we show you a map of tree canopy in virtually any city in America, we're also showing you a map of income," says Jad Daley, president and CEO of the nonprofit American Forests. "And in many cases we're showing you a map of race and ethnicity."
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The Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities Initiative is one approach that is attempting to democratize access to green spaces.
This model transforms schoolyards, which are present in most communities, into green and vibrant areas with natural and built elements that are designed to appeal to students, their families, and their communities.
Students use the schoolyards during school hours, but then the schoolyards are also opened up to the broader community at all other times.
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The decline in the number of hours Americans spend outdoors, exacerbated by urbanization, has affected people’s familiarity with local wildlife. This is concerning to conservationists, as people tend to care about and invest in what they know. Children represent the future supporters of conservation, such that their knowledge about and feelings toward wildlife have the potential to influence conservation for many years to come.
Despite different levels of urbanization, children had either an unfamiliarity with and/or low preference for local animals, suggesting that a disconnect between children and local biodiversity is already well-established, even in more rural areas where many wildlife species can be found.
Click here to learn more about the study that surveyed 2,759 4–8th grade children across 22 suburban, exurban, and rural schools in North Carolina to determine their attitudes toward local, domestic, and exotic animals.
A Pew Study shows: Americans ages 60 and older are alone for more than half of their daily Measured time- we can all help!Read Now
While time spent alone is not necessarily associated with adverse effects, it can be used as a measure of social isolation, which in turn is linked with negative health outcomes among older adults. Medical experts suspect that lifestyle factors may explain some of this association – for instance, someone who is socially isolated may have less cognitive stimulation and more difficulty staying active or taking their medications. In some cases, social isolation may mean there is no one on hand to help in case of a medical emergency.
An American Cancer Society study, appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, says addressing social isolation holds promise if studies show interventions are effective, as they could be relatively simple and could influence other risk factors, as social isolation is also associated with hypertension, inflammation, physical inactivity, smoking, and other health risks.
Related studies and findings:
Pew Research Study
American Cancer Society Study