Nature pact: why 2 hours a week in nature will save us
Slow down and spend time in nature this spring
In partnership with Koala Eco
By Jenny Ringland
From reducing stress to promoting healing there is an increasing body of research supporting the connection between time in nature and our wellbeing. Which makes complete sense to us, because whether it’s a dip in the ocean or a walk in the park or just being barefoot on the back lawn, time outside in nature just feels good. We’ve been wondering though, how much time do we need to spend in nature to reap the mental and physical reward?
It turns out the experts have been wondering too, because studies have revealed the magic number is 120 minutes a week. The study found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spread over a few visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.
The study also found that the minimum time was 120 minutes, those who spent less than 120 minutes didn’t experience the same benefits.
During the month of September Koala Eco, together with the People and Parks Foundation is encouraging us all to get our regular dose of nature and feel better for it with its #NaturePact campaign.
“#NaturePact encourages people, businesses, schools, and organisations to commit to spending intentional time in nature every day for a month, bringing transformative benefits to mental health, energy, and wellbeing,’’ Koala Eco co-founder Jess Bragdon says.
“We’d like to invite you to get involved and make your own #NaturePact. It’s free to participate, and each week the People and Parks Foundation will be sharing ideas, tips, and facts about why taking your daily Nature Dose can benefit your health and the planet.”
How 5 sustainability advocates feel when they are in nature
Kesiah is the founder of OffBeet Compost, which helps households and businesses make the most of their organic waste. Kesiah lives in the Merrimack Valley Region, between Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the United States.
“I think sometimes humans forget we are a part of nature. When I put my hands in the soil, when I see a seed that I placed in the earth sprout into a thriving plant, and later witness bees and hummingbirds coming through to share in its vibrancy, I feel more centred and fulfilled in life,’’ Kesiah says.
“Like I’m a part of a larger ecosystem that I’ll never fully understand but will always be grateful for.”
Channelling creativity, curiosity and spirituality through her family, home, and freelance design practice, Dee Tang lives in a beautiful old California-style bungalow in Fremantle, Western Australia. She and artist husband Desmond have three children: Rafa Rose, Beau Sunray, and angel daughter Kawa Leaf.
“Our home is surrounded by an immense, rambling garden, and birds are constantly congregating and chatting here. My little shack where I work is nestled beneath a huge gum tree. It’s been a constant source of sheltering, creative inspiration with its muted native tones and dancing dappled light,’’ Dee says.
“Being nestled in nature makes it feel like there is no need to get away, as our backyard is an oasis in itself.”
Luka McCabe is a registered nurse, midwife, nutrition expert and mother of three. Her business, Boob to Food, helps first-time mums navigate early motherhood, especially with regard to weaning their babies.
“Nature is instantly calming, grounding and, at the risk of a pun, it just feels ‘natural’!,’’ Luka says.
“Being in nature helps me feel more connected to the planet, and brings a feeling of deep relaxation. For an instant mood boost, you can’t get better than the feeling of the sun on your skin.”
Ten years ago, Gigi Hopkins gave up a corporate career in Sydney to go travelling, “to find and share the most unique and beautiful places to explore and stay in Australia and all over the world,’’. Wherever she calls home, at any time and anywhere in the world, nature is one of the most important and grounding aspects of Gigi’s life/
“I feel like nature brings me back to what is good. A sensory experience, I love the way it grounds me, calms me, and brings me back to the present moment. It’s very humbling,’’ Gigi says.
Lou Bannister, co-founder and editorial director of Lunch Lady Magazine, and occasional skateboarder, says her relationship with nature is one of the most important things in her life.
“I’m a busy person and nature allows me to ground myself mentally and switch off. If I’m in a rainforest especially, I can feel my whole body change. It’s incredible how nature can make you feel.”