For millennia, humans have turned to nature for medicines to treat a host of ailments, and the search continues today. It is estimated that nearly half of the pharmaceuticals now in use are derived from plants, animals, fungi, or microbes for conditions ranging from headaches and hypertension to malaria and cancer. Researchers are actively seeking medically-useful compounds in the world’s tens of millions of species. The value of nature as a pharmacopeia is well known. Less well known is that contact with nature itself can have a healing effect—all the more so in our increasingly hectic urban and electronic world. Recent research suggests that contact with nature—gardens, parks, forests, companion animals, potted plants, even a view of trees through the window—can be useful in treating attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, dementia, and other afflictions.
This talk will explore efforts to foster nature-contact in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools, and inner cities. It will also speculate on why contact with nature—the world that humans do not manufacture or control—is vital for health as well as happiness.
Author and Retired Professor of English, Indiana UniversityNo slides available
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Please join on May 18-19, 2023