Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Fresh Air Gone?

by Lisa Donovan

One of my best friends has always been one of the most nature-philic people I know.  She has to be surrounded, for some part of her day, by mountains or open fields or rivers or creeks.  She can’t exist, happily, without them. 

I came to realize, in my early twenties, that I was not the same way.  I spent a lot of my teen years wondering why I never felt that pull toward being outdoors.  All those years of everyone inviting me camping and hiking never made me giddy with excitement - it just wasn’t my idea of entertainment or relaxation.  Bugs and sweat don’t turn me on.  I always love the view from atop a mountain that I just hiked, but the getting there part is never anything that I enjoy. I like (love) the city.  I love air conditioned museums and sidewalk cafes.  I would rather spend my day sitting on the floor of a used bookstore than at the beach.  I like that I have learned this about myself before the age of thirty. 

Ok, but now I have these two beautiful kids and, occassionally, when I help one of them blow their nose I find that their sweet little baby snot is full of black sooty looking stuff.  I notice that they cough a wee bit more than I did when I was a kid.  They get colds with a greater frequency than my friends’ kids who live out in the country (note: I said country, not suburbs.  I think the suburbs are equally as detrimental to one’s health as the city, if not more).  Is this what is best for them? 

Is it possible for us urbanites to marry our love of the city with some kind of commune with nature?  Yes and no.  Obviously, we are a species that has taken ourselves seriously out of the loop in regard to natures deepest cycles but there are people researching means to this end:

We believe that urban planning efforts and public policies would benefit greatly by integrating the lessons learned by ecologists working with health professionals, and the ecological health guidelines that these researchers are setting forth.  It is clear that urbanization, and the inevitable degradation of the environment that ensues, disrupts ecosystem processes and ultimately threatens human health, and the well-being of all species of animals and plants. 

Hopefully, I won’t feel the need to push the eject button, but I think that finding a city that regards this balance is going to be an important factor in our decision making factor for where we settle down for good.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2006 at 7:36 am and is filed under Healthy Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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