Green is a happy colour
It makes so much sense, but it’s always nice to see science confirming something you always suspected. Spending time in nature as a child improves your chances of being an adult with better mental health.
That doesn’t mean everyone needs a cottage or a country estate where they can spend their childhood weekends and vacations, although that would be nice and good for those who can swing it. We made sacrifices elsewhere so we could afford a small wild island on a quiet lake when the kids were very little (one hadn’t been born yet when we purchased it), in good part because we wanted them to grow up knowing what ruckus a forest could make at night, and what porcupine poop looked like. My kids have seen snapping turtles up close, snakes even closer, dock spiders bigger than their hands, loons, fish, birds, and what happens when the dog decides to chase a porcupine. They know how to build a fire, how to stay safe in a lake, and how to drive boats. That was something we wanted our kids to experience, and today I’m glad we did, even if they’re getting older and not quite as excited as they used to be at the thought of spending more time in nature.
But what to do if this is out of reach? If you can’t afford your own nature preserve or even to send your kids to camp somewhere wild? You need to find green spaces right where you live. Spaces you can access easily without having to spend a penny, and where you feel welcome no matter who you are.
Cities are better than they used to be on this front. But there’s still a lot of work to be done, to give everyone, no matter what financial means they have, ready access to nature and its joys.