Design for Wellbeing - Start with Trees

Dr. Richard Jackson, Chair of the School of Health at UCLA, and former head of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that how we shape our environment impacts our health.

Naked Coral tree - photo  by Jan Johnsen

He notes that our built environment in part, contributes to our current epidemics of asthma, obesity, diabetes, and depression. But unfortunately, he says, we are not working to prevent these problems but instead are “looking at the end of the pipeline,” the medical effects.

from a great website for parenting kids

“We are now medicalizing the problems people are experiencing with their environment. We are no longer creating wellbeing.”

For example, when ground-level heat goes up, ozone levels (from cars) also rise. Ozone is a leading contributor to asthma, a chronic disease that disproportionally impacts inner-city areas. “Any place where we can cool the air, we can improve health.”

smog in Paris 2014

So less ground-level heat and less cars will lower asthma rates! In Atlanta during the Olympic Games, people drove less, taking public transit to get into the city center. As a result asthma hospitalizations dropped by some 30 percent.

We can lower ground-level heat by planting more trees in urban areas. More trees and parks in cities will alleviate asthma rates...makes sense to me.

Also trees will bring more oxygen back into the environment ...this is a major key, in my opinion, to increasing health and wellbeing. Oxygen is released by trees. They take in CO2 and release oxygen - perfect.

Trees Release Life-Enhancing Oxygen

New evidence from ice core samples, published by NASA show CO2 levels are higher than anything our planet has experienced in over 650,000 years. And CO2 binds to hemoglobin in our red blood cells which interferes with the way our red blood cells carry oxygen to our cells. This interference dramatically reduces how much oxygen we can utilize - hence asthma ( and more). 

Jackson notes that how we design our communities affects our health - “We are engineering exercise out of people’s lives” by putting places of work and living far from each other. Over the past twenty years, the obesity rate for teenagers has tripled.

from Charleston, West Va. 
Walking/biking  is to be encouraged at all costs. He notes, “Now there’s only one state where less than 20 percent of the population is obese.” [what state? don't know]
So part of the solution to our health problems is to design for wellbeing.

Jackson says, “Cars are not more important than people or trees.”

We need to plant the right trees in the right places and create long-term plans to keep trees healthy.

click here for source

There is so much more than this - but planting trees is a great place to start.


 Dr. Richard Jackson: “We Are No Longer Creating Wellbeing” 09/12/2010 by asladirt

“Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children,”

Also, Dr. Jackson’s book, “Urban Sprawl and Public Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities”

Paul Morris on CDC’s Healthy Communities program, and how design can improve health.

and the birds will follow the trees....


Popular Posts of all Time

Angelface Blue and Dark Violet Angelonia - a Flower that Keeps Giving

'Purple Smoke' - The best Baptisia

Getting in the 'Flow' by Gardening

No-Fail Tips for Turning Hydrangeas Blue!

Repurposed and Recycled - Creative Ideas for Garden Design

Planting Design for Dry Gardens by Olivier Filippi

The Magnificent Purslane - Edible Landscaping at its best!

My one day Class Wednesday April 16 in NY - Jan Johnsen

The Tradition of Hanami - Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan