If reading more books is one of your goals for 2019, consider adding The Nature Fix to the list of books that will be part of that goal. Read it early in the year, because it may affect your other goals and pursuits for the year. At just under 260 pages, it could easily be read in one snowbound day.
A blurb on the back cover calls Florence Williams a deft writer, and it would be hard to improve on that description. Williams is a journalist and a contributing editor to Outside magazine. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times and National Geographic.
The Nature Fix is all about how increasing our exposure to the natural world, even by small amounts, benefits us physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Florence Williams describes these benefits through engaging accounts of her investigations of scientific experiments and social and educational programs. These experiments and programs attempt to measure the benefits and apply them to specific populations. The populations include city dwellers in Japan and South Korea, military veteran women who are suffering from PTSD, and teenagers whose ADHD puts them at a severe disadvantage in a traditional classroom.
An especially good chapter is chapter 3, entitled “The Smell of Survival,” which discusses so-called healing forests, and the programs that make use of them, in South Korea. Quoting Park Hyun-Soo, who Williams says is “more of a ranger-slash-shaman,” Williams writes “‘The soil is also good for healing. It is antiviral and the geosmin is good for cancer.’ Geosmin, I learned, causes the funky-great smell of earth after a rain.” Looking back at some recent books on soil, Courtney White’s Grass, Soil, and Hope and Ragan Sutterfield’s Cultivating Reality, it looks like the soil can help us in many ways, including some that are much less obvious.
Who would benefit from reading The Nature Fix? Parents and grandparents, educators, health-care professionals, counselors and other mental-health professionals, city planners, retirees and soon-to-be retirees, and just about any other persons who are themselves stressed by urban or suburban life or who want to help people in that situation.
Thank you as always for stopping by!