People are happy, healthier, and do better overall (in school, at work, etc) when they are able to be exposed to a natural environment (woodlands or waterways) and there’s plenty of documentation to back this up.
Now you can either take that one sentence and move forward or you can sit and read a 300 page book and come away with the same thought. Your choice.
The subtitle for this book is: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. Author Florence Williams does give us some of the scientific evidence to answer the question of ‘why’ and she’s clearly explored a few different studies into the effects of nature on the human psyche.
But why do we need this book?
I picked up this book even though I’m already a strong believer in the need for fresh air and the outdoor environment. I personally would rather be hiking through a woods or sitting on a beach shore than just about anywhere else. I don’t need convincing in the effects of the outdoors. This book isn’t for me.
But I’m no fool. I know that there are many people (more than half the population as of 2008, according to this book) who live in metropolitan areas who don’t get to experience nature. So is this book for them? Is this going to change the mind of the shut-in or the city dweller who doesn’t experience a walk among trees or a long a shore? “Oh…I didn’t realize there was scientific evidence…”?
Most urbanites, in my mind, don’t get out into nature because they either can’t or they don’t know where or how to go. The scientific evidence that they need to go isn’t the motivation that they need. No … this book is more for the self-confirming – to maybe justify why we head out for a picnic on a Saturday instead of cleaning out the furnace room or doing a little work at home to catch up.
I can’t imagine who I would give this book to. My outdoorsy family doesn’t need it, and my city-dwelling family wouldn’t care about it.
Some of the material is presented in a straight-forward, rather dry style and the early chapters where a bit of a chore to read. The later chapters were more engaging and felt like a breath of fresh air. Still, while I agreed with the conclusions presented, I was left wondering why this book would be important or a must-read. I haven’t come up with any answers.
Looking for a good book? The Nature Fix by Florence Williams is a hard look at the documented importance of finding time to spend in nature, but the book is self-affirming to those who already spend time outside and unlikely to convince anyone else of the need.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
author: Florence Williams
publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
hardcover, 304 pages