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Eco-Wellbeing „What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?” (Louv, 2012:2)

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Presentation on theme: "Eco-Wellbeing „What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?” (Louv, 2012:2)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Eco-Wellbeing „What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?” (Louv, 2012:2)

2 Nature in English Poetry To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. (Blake) When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, 'He was a man who used to notice such things'? (Hardy) I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. (Wordsworth)

3 Seven Dimensions of Wellness  Social Wellness: is the process of creating and maintaining healthy relationships through the choices we make.This also refers to our ability to relate well to others, both within and outside of the family unit.  Physical Wellness: signifies the process of making choices to create flexible, cardiovascularly fit, energetic, and strong bodies The choices we make are related to exercise, nutrition, rest and sleep, intentional and responsible sexual choices, stress management, management of injuries and illness, and the responsible use of alcohol and other drugs.  Emotional Wellness: is the ability to understand your own feelings, accept your limitations, and achieve emotional stability.  Intellectual Wellness: is the process of using our minds to create a greater understanding and appreciation of the universe and ourselves. Intellectual wellness is not dependent on intelligence or ability; rather it requires making connections, appreciating natural connections, examining one's opinions and judgements, and questioning authority.

4 Seven Dimensions of Wellness Continued….  Spiritual Wellness: is the process of discovering meaning and purpose in life, and demonstrating values through behaviours. Spiritual wellness includes acceptance of the concepts of wholeness, unity, diversity, individual uniqueness, and the need for community as well as personal responsibility to oneself and that community.  Occupational Wellness: is the process of making and maintaining choices related to work which include choosing a job for which you are well suited, well-trained, and from which you gain satisfaction. It includes staying current in one's chosen field, helping to create a healthy organizational environment which contributes to your own and others' well-being. Career wellness also requires balancing work with the rest of your life.  Environmental Wellness: is the process of making choices which will contribute to sustaining or improving the quality of life in the universe. This dimension includes responsible choices regarding the use of air, water, land, and energy so that future generations of each species may survive and thrive. The recognition of interdependence of humans, other animals, plants and all of nature is a central tenet of environmental wellness. (

5 Five Ways to Wellbeing (New Economics Foundation, 2008)  Connect (with people, not technology) „Social isolation increases ill health and death rates.„  Be active " Not being active makes us depressed because we are evolved to be active"  Take notice (linked to ‘mindfulness’ concept) "The more you relate to nature, the more positive your emotions and the greater your life satisfaction”  Keep learning ”Those with more open minds are happier, not only because they stay mentally vigorous but also because they gain a renewed sense of mastery”  Give "It can be about thinking ahead and how to give a healthy planet to future generations, as yet unborn.„

6 Trends in Eco-Wellbeing  Understanding of environmental psychology  Use of ecotherapy  Green spirituality  Use of organic and bio products  Local and seasonal foods  Exercise in the fresh air (‘Green Gyms’)  ‚Transition town’ and ‚slow city’ movements  Natural locations for spas and retreats  Greening of spas and eco-friendliness  Interest in local and indigenous treatments  Natural cosmetics

7 LOHAS – Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability  Describes an estimated $290 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living.  Approximately 13-19% percent of the adults in the U.S. are currently considered LOHAS Consumers.  LOHAS identifies different sectors:  Personal health  Green building  Ecotourism  Natural lifestyles  Alternative transport  Alternative energy

8 Environmental Psychology  Environmental psychologists try to determine what makes humans comfortable and how we can adjust our surroundings to reduce stress and enhance quality of life for as many people as possible.  A great deal of the environmental psychology discipline is devoted to how environment affects society.  Their work has a natural tie-in with conventional environmentalism because they believe that unspoiled nature can provide one of the best backdrops for human life.  When human beings are surrounded by parks and trees and flowers, their minds function more efficiently and their moods become more positive.  It is thought that when a person's environment is properly arranged, his or her life-energy also arranges itself properly and this can bring health, clarity of mind, and inward peace to the individual (links to Feng Shui, Zen, Vastu – even ‚Virtual Vastu’)

9 Ecotherapy  According to Howard Clinebell, who wrote a 1996 book on the topic, “ecotherapy” refers to healing and growth nurtured by healthy interaction with the earth. He also called it “green therapy” and “earth-centered therapy.”.  Ecotherapeutic work as Clinebell conceived it takes guidance from an Ecological Circle of three mutually interacting operations or dynamics:  Inreach: receiving and being nurtured by the healing presence of nature, place, Earth.  Upreach: the actual experience of this more-than-human vitality as we relocate our place within the natural world.  Outreach: activities with other people that care for the planet.  ‘Ecotherapy uses a range of practices in order to help us connect with nature and ultimately with our ‘inner’ nature.’ (  „The reinvention of psycho-therapy as if nature mattered” (International Association for Ecotherapy)

10 Ecotherapy: The Green Agenda for Mental Health (UK, 2007)  Three of the Government’s six key priorities set out in the recent Public Health White Paper were to increase exercise, improve mental health and reduce obesity we believe that implementing this green agenda would go some way to achieving all three.  For the first study, 108 people involved in green exercise activities with local Mind groups were surveyed. The activities included gardening projects (52 per cent), walking groups (37%), conservation work (7%), running (3%) & cycling groups (1%).  90% of people who took part in Mind green exercise activities said that the combination of nature and exercise is most important in determining how they feel.  94% of people commented that green exercise activities had benefited their mental health. Some of their comments included:  “I feel better about myself and have a sense of achievement.”  “I am more relaxed, have better focus of mind, greater coordination and greater self- esteem.”  “It improves my depression, helps me be more motivated and gives me satisfaction in doing things. Since starting the project I have been able to improve on my quality of life. Coming here has helped me overcome most of my problems.”  90 per cent of those surveyed commented that taking part in green exercise activities had benefited their physical health. Comments included:  “My fitness has improved, I feel refreshed and alive.”  “I feel as though I can do things without being tired. I am more active, I want to join in things and my body is looser and more agile.” (

11 Ecotherapy: The Green Agenda for Mental Health  The second study looks at the role the environment plays on the effectiveness of exercise for mental wellbeing. 20 members of local Mind associations took part in 2 walks in contrasting environments to test the impact on self-esteem, mood and enjoyment.  The green, outdoor walk was around Belhus Woods Country Park in Essex, which has a varied landscape of woodlands, grasslands and lakes. The indoor walk was around a shopping centre in Essex.  Self- esteem:  outdoors improved 70%; indoors 17%  Depression:  outdoors 71% improved; indoors 45%  Tension:  outdoors 71% improved; indoors 28%

12 Nature Deficit Disorder  NDD was written about by author Richard Louv (2005) in his book Last Child in the Woods in order to explain how society’s disconnection with nature is affecting today's children.  Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from (lack of contact/connection) with nature.  The symptoms of NDD include attention problems, obesity, anxiety, and depression.  Problems with too much time indoors with TV, computers, mobile phones  Water, trees, bushes, flowers, woods, and streams are the best kind of toys!  Evidence shows that:  children learn more and behave better when lessons are conducted outdoors  symptoms of children diagnosed with ADHD improve when they are exposed to nature  children say their happiness depends more on having things to do outdoors than owning technology.

13 Louv, R. (2012) The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, New York: Algonquin Books.  The Nature Principle „holds that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human wellbeing” (p.82)  The idea of going beyond sustainability to the re-naturing of everyday life, about the power of living in nature – not with it but in it  „All of life is rooted in nature and a separation from that wider world desensitizes and diminishes our bodies and spirits. Reconnecting to nature, nearby and far, opens new doors to health, creativity and wonder” (p.9)  „Our sensitivity to nature, and our humility within it, are essential to our physical and spiritual survival. Yet our growing disconnection from nature dulls our senses” (p.18)  „Short, quiet encounters with natural elements can simply calm us and help us feel less alone” (p.55)  „The future will belong to the nature-smart – those (...) who develop a deeper understanding of nature, and who balance the virtual with the real” (p.4)

14 Louv (2012) The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, New York: Algonquin Books.  Kaplan and Kaplan (1989) showed that direct and indirect contact with nature can help recovery from mental fatigue, calm and focus the mind, but also induce a state which transcends relaxation  Even five minutes in nature can help to improve mood  Helps humans to return to biological instead of mechanical time  Japanese research on ‚forest therapy’, including for employees  The natural world connects people to their ‚authentic selves’ (Weinstein et al., 2009)  The natural world as a ‚window into spiritual intelligence’  Idea of ‚Vitamin N’ for nature (e.g. in Ecotherapy)  Even seeing a view of nature helps patients recover more quickly  BMI of children lower in green neighbourhoods and less violence  People are more caring when they are around nature  ‚Blue-green’ exercise is the best (green areas by water)  Helps with anti or active ageing  Should national park systems be part of the healhcare system? (‚the nature prescription’)

15 Sustainability and Spirituality Carroll, J. E. (2004) Sustainability and Spirituality. Sunny Press.  Argues that true sustainability must be based in spirituality and looks at religious communities dedicated to the environment.  Carroll contends that true ecological sustainability, in contrast to the cosmetic attempts at sustainability we see around us, questions our society's fundamental values and is so countercultural that it is resisted by anyone without a spiritual belief in something deeper than efficiency, technology, or economics.

16 Dark Green Spirituality Taylor, B. (2009) Dark Green Religion: Nature, Spirituality and the Planetary Future. University of California Press.  „nature- related religion has been rekindled, invented, spread, and ecologized. A great deal of this religious creativity has been dark green, flowing from a deep sense of belonging to and connectedness in nature, while perceiving the earth and its living systems to be sacred and interconnected”  „I think a good deal of the global sustainability movement resembles religion in general and dark green religion in particular. I think a good deal of the global sustainability movement resembles religion in general and dark green religion in particular. Sustainability not only grounded in concern for human beings but in respect and reverence for all life.”.

17 Slow Tourism  „Tourism that respects local cultures and history, protects the environment and is socially responsible. More than this, however, it is tourism that celebrates diversity, connects people and brings back the joys of discovery, learning and sharing”  „Slow tourism encapsulates a range of lifestyle practices, mobilities and ethics that are connected to social movements such as slow food and cities, as well as specialist sectors such as ecotourism and voluntourism”  Travellers enjoy a more authentic experience of living in a place, rather than just holidaying there. Slow travellers prefer to rent an apartment rather than staying in a hotel and enjoy activities such as shopping, walking, cycling, tasting local cuisine and attending cafés in their neighborhood which encourages interaction with local communities.  Dickinson, J. & Lumsdon, L. (2010) Slow Travel and Tourism. London: Routledge.  Fullagar, S., Markwell, K. W. & Wilson, E. (2012) Slow Tourism Experiences and Mobilities. Clevedon: Channel View.

18 The Greening of Hotels and Spas  Many hotel chains have committed to sustainability schemes including their spas (e.g. Accor, Mariott, Hyatt).  The International Spa Association (ISPA, 2013) gives guidelines on how spas can be greener by embracing the three pillars of sustainability: planet, people and prosperity.  The Green Spa Network was established officially in 2006. Their spa self- assessment includes: Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice, and Accountability.  Retreat Finder (2013) includes a category for so-called Eco Retreats which are described as “Environmentally sustainable retreats and retreat centers employing a wide variety of tactics to help the planet including: solar power, rain barrels, organic farming, recycling, and much more!”  The Retreat Company (2013) lists over eighty Eco Retreats around the world  Global Spa Summit (2012) mentions getting back to nature and ’earthing’ as major new trends in spas and wellness, e.g. walking or hiking barefoot. More classes (e.g. yoga, tai chi) are being held outside in natural surroundings. Spa design is becoming more focused on views of nature and some are even being built in remote wildernesses (e.g. ‘pop- up’ spas).

19 Case Study: Wild Fitness, Kenya  Wildfitness is a special kind of health holiday – more like an open-air fitness retreat than a spa. It aims to help people rediscover their natural physical potential which they would have needed to survive in the wild.  A typical programme lasts from nine days to three and a half weeks, and group size is limited to eleven people.  Emphasis is placed on three main elements, which are: ( atch?v=PL7NyzaXguw)  Wild Movement e.g. learning proper techniques for physical activities like running and swimming, challenging oneself, enhancing performance, preventing injuries, strength training.  Wild Eating e.g. locally-sourced raw & organic produce to ease digestive and other problems. Two menus are available: Primate Menu (e.g. eggs, seeds, nuts, fruit, non-starchy vegetables) & Hunter-Gatherer Menu (the same but with the addition of meat and fish). There may also be cookery lessons and nutritional workshops.  Wild Living e.g. Learning how to control stress through breathing, sleeping, relaxing, being in nature & studying physiological responses to these aspects of life. This also includes having fun & bonding with the small group as tribes would have done.

20 The Future of Eco-Wellbeing Tourism?  Eco-therapy camps  „Digital de-tox” retreats in nature  Occupational wellness retreats in rural landscapes  Re-discovering spirituality through nature and landscape „pilgrimages”  Eco-spas and retreats using only local and indigenous materials, products and treatments  Adventure spas based on outdoor fitness or „Green Gyms”  Nutritional retreats based on local, organic ‚slow’, bio or ‚foraged’ foods  Green festivals

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