Saturday, February 14, 2009

Three proofs: you can solve all the world's problems with greenery

Everything is connected, even if we don't always understand how and why.

1. A recent study held by two Scottish universities showed that even a little bit of greenery near our homes improves our health. Green space reduces health inequities between rich and poor, maybe by encouraging exercise or reducing stress. This is especially true for heart disease and stroke, two conditions much higher among the poor.

A Columbia University study found that asthma rates among four and five year olds fell by 25% for every 343 trees per square kilometer! Given that asthma rates have gone up 50% in the last 20 years, and no one knows why for sure, this astoundingly simple preventative needs to built into urban planning. Again, the researchers aren't sure if the effect is because trees clean the air of pollution, or because trees encourage children to go outside, where they are exposed to the microbes necessary to build their immune system.

2. Not all greenery is created equal, however-- when it comes to the vegetables we eat, your mother's cauliflower is not the same as the cauliflower you eat-- it has 40% less vitamin C than it did in 1975, broccoli has 50% less calcium and watercress has lost 88% of its iron-- and this is as was measured in 2001. You can read about the discovery in the 2001 Le Magazine. And the larger the vegetable, the lower the nutritional value overall. A 2007 Organic Center report shows that
  • The more a tomato weighs, the lower its concentration of lycopene, a natural anti-cancer chemical that makes tomatoes red. There is also less vitamin C and beta carotene, a nutrient linked to vitamin A.
  • Milk from high-production dairy cows has lower concentrations of fat, protein and other nutrition-enhancing components than the milk from dairy operations of 20 years ago or more.
  • Sweet corn, potatoes and whole-wheat bread show double-digit declines in iron, zinc and calcium. The time span of the decline varies depending on the product studied but generally ranges from 20 to 100 years.

  • Vegetables pumped full of water from fertilizers and then grown in nutritionally depleted soil are nowhere near as good for you as vegetables grown in your backyard in a raised bed filled with your own compost from backyard greenery.

    3. Finally, while we are all becoming more familiar with the necessity of greenery for the survival of the planet in terms of global warming, consider the number of wars caused by scarcity of resources, in particular water and food. Geoff Lawton at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia has been developing permaculture projects across the globe. This short video will give you a sense of what's possible if we are wiling.

    Image from Inspired Economies.


    MoonRaven said...

    This is all great information. Thank you for posting it.

    And absolutely, vegetables grown at home (or from the farmer's market or local and organic in general) are better for you than the ones agribusiness is trying to sell us.

    Actve said...

    Suggest you to provide link to

    and encourage your readers to use the Energy Environment Forum and get a link back !
    energyenvironmentforum at gmail dot com

    Michaelann Bewsee said...

    OK, link added.