Bees Absolutely Love Cannabis and It Could Help Restore Their Populations

By Elias Marat

Bees are major fans of hemp and a recent study has found that the taller the hemp plants are the larger the number of bees that will flock to it.

The new research, spearheaded by researchers at Cornell University and published last month in Environmental Entomology, shows that humans aren’t the only fans of weed. The findings also reinforce a study published last year at Colorado State University that discovered the same thing.

The study shows how bees are highly attracted to cannabis due to the plant’s plentiful stores of pollen, and it could pave the way for scientists to figure out new ways to support their struggling population as well as floral populations.

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According to the study, the greater the area covered by the hemp plant the greater the chance that bees will swarm to the area. Additionally, those hemp plants that are taller have a much greater likelihood of attracting bees with the tallest plants attracting a stunning 17 times more bees than the shortest plants.

The study also found that as time went on greater amounts of bees visited the hemp plots on a more frequent basis. It sounds almost like the word-of-mouth effect among humans who hear about great deals at a dispensary, no?

The researchers also discovered that hemp, a major cash crop with multiple applications, can support no less than 16 different varieties of bees in the northeastern United States.

The findings may seem strange considering that cannabis doesn’t produce the sweet, sugary nectar that your typical floral varieties produce to attract insects. Nor does hemp flower come in the dazzling array of bright colors that likewise attract bugs. However, the pollen produced by male flowers is highly attractive to the 16 bee subspecies in the study for reasons that remain unknown.

Female flowers—the kind that humans like to smoke for its intoxicating and soothing effects—are basically ignored by bees since they don’t produce any actual flowers.

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The study’s author’s wrote:

The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States… may have significant implications for agroecosystem-wide pollination dynamics.

As a late-season crop flowering during a period of seasonal floral dearth, hemp may have a particularly strong potential to enhance pollinator populations and subsequent pollination services for crops in the following year by filling gaps in late-season resource scarcity.

What makes the findings so compelling is the crucial impact it could have on suffering bee populations across the United States.

Bees are perhaps one of the most important managed pollinators in U.S. agriculture. Spreading the male sex cells of flowers to their female counterparts in a natural process that is highly crucial to plant reproduction.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, pollinators are worth anywhere from $235 and $577 billion worldwide owing to their pivotal role in the production of global crops. In the U.S. alone this means that bees are responsible for $20 billion of domestic crop production. Without bees we can kiss almonds, blueberries, watermelon, and other crops goodbye.

The authors of the study made clear that the combination of bees plus hemp won’t mean that folks should worry about cannabinoid-rich pollen sneaking it into their diets nor will the bees start producing honey enriched with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—as nice as that sounds.

Likewise, the presence of cannabinoids like THC in hemp pollen is “not likely to have an impact on bee development due to the loss of cannabinoid receptors in insects.”

So while we often like to focus on the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana—in its edible, smokeable, and vape-able forms—this new research shows that the plant can in fact help nature and agriculture in amazingly important ways.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Farmer Sets Up Trough For Animals To Drink From While The Australian Bushfires Rage On

By Mayukh Saha

The Australian bushfires continue to devastate Australia for over a week now. And while ecologists believe that mitigation processes might help in afforestation, there is no way that the wildlife loss wouldn’t be a major shock to the entire country. This emu farmer has set up a drinking pool for animals. All the dams are quickly drying up, making it difficult for the wildlife to survive.

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Most people are supporting the firefighters in their struggle to control the fire. But some are trying to help the animals that have been worst affected by the Australian bushfires. Steve Irwin’s family has been responsible for treating almost 90,000 animals that have been wounded over the last few months. Now, an Australian farmer couple has set up a drinking pool on their emu farm, where animals can come and quench their thirst. Henley’s emu farm is located in New South Wales and is operated by Penny and Phil Henley.

The duo has also installed a ramp that leads directly to the water supply. This ramp was for those animals that have tiny feet or are flightless. The situation is getting critical as around 480 million animals have perished in the Australian bushfires since September, as reported by the University of Sydney.

Prof. Chris Dickman mentions that New South Wales has lost around three million hectares in the last ten days itself. But he also states that while most large animals like kangaroos and emus would be able to get away from the fire, animals such as koalas and echidnas will not be able to.

Even animals like the echidna are coming to drink water from the pool. Echidnas are known to drink water only when they are extremely thirsty.


Images: Emu Logic/Facebook

Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, videos, design, and social media management. I am an avid traveler and I started living as a digital nomad in Europe since 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: justmayukh@gmail.com Love, Mayukh Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Study Shows Animal Life Thriving Around Fukushima (PHOTOS)

Nearly a decade after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, researchers from the University of Georgia have found that wildlife populations are abundant in areas void of human life.

Raccoon dog

The camera study, published in the Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, reports that over 267,000 wildlife photos recorded more than 20 species, including wild boar, Japanese hare, macaques, pheasant, fox and the raccoon dog—a relative of the fox—in various areas of the landscape.

UGA wildlife biologist James Beasley said speculation and questions have come from both the scientific community and the general public about the status of wildlife years after a nuclear accident like those in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

This recent study, in addition to the team’s research in Chernobyl, provides answers to the questions.

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Badger

“Our results represent the first evidence that numerous species of wildlife are now abundant throughout the Fukushima Evacuation Zone, despite the presence of radiological contamination,” said Beasley, associate professor at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Species that are often in conflict with humans, particularly wild boar, were predominantly captured on camera in human-evacuated areas or zones, according to Beasley.

“This suggests these species have increased in abundance following the evacuation of people.”

The team, which included Thomas Hinton, professor at the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity at Fukushima University, identified three zones for the research.

Wild boar

Photographic data was gathered from 106 camera sites in three zones: humans excluded due to the highest level of contamination; humans restricted due to an intermediate level of contamination; and humans inhabited, an area where people have been allowed to remain due to “background” or very low levels of radiation found in the environment.

The researchers based their designations on zones previously established by the Japanese government after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.

For 120 days, cameras captured over 46,000 images of wild boar. Over 26,000 of those images were taken in the uninhabited area, compared to approximately 13,000 in the restricted and 7,000 in the inhabited zones.

Other species seen in higher numbers in the uninhabited or restricted zones included raccoons, Japanese marten and Japanese macaque or monkeys.

Japanese serow

Anticipating questions about physiological condition of the wildlife, Hinton said their results are not an assessment of an animal’s health. “This research makes an important contribution because it examines radiological impacts to populations of wildlife, whereas most previous studies have looked for effects to individual animals,” said Hinton.

The uninhabited zone served as the control zone for the research.

The scientists said although there is no previous data on wildlife populations in the evacuated areas, the close proximity and similar landscape of the human-inhabited zone made the area the ideal control for the study.

The team evaluated the impact of other variables: distance to road, time of activity as captured by the cameras’ date-time stamps, vegetation type and elevation.

Wild hare

“The terrain varies from mountainous to coastal habitats, and we know these habitats support different types of species. To account for these factors, we incorporated habitat and landscape attributes such as elevation into our analysis,” Beasley said.

“Based on these analyses, our results show that level of human activity, elevation and habitat type were the primary factors influencing the abundance of the species evaluated, rather than radiation levels.”

Macaque monkeys

The study’s results indicate the activity pattern of most species aligned with their well-known history or behavior patterns. Raccoons, who are nocturnal, were more active during the night, while pheasants, which are diurnal animals, were more active during the day. However, wild boar inside the uninhabited area were more active during the day than boar in human-inhabited areas, suggesting they may be modifying their behavior in the absence of humans.

One exception to these patterns was the Japanese serow, a goat-like mammal. Normally far-removed from humans, they were most frequently seen on the camera footage in rural human-inhabited upland areas. The researchers suggest this might be a behavioral adjustment to avoid the rapidly growing boar population in the evacuated zone.

The free-roaming menagerie in Fukushima also included the red fox, masked palm civet, weasel, sika deer and black bear. The full list of wildlife captured on camera and additional details on the study can be found at: esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/fee.2149

Additional authors on this study include Phillip Lyons, University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina, and UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Athens, Georgia; Kei Okuda and Thomas Hinton, Institute of Environmental Radioactivity, Fukushima University, Fukushima, Japan; and Mathew Hamilton, SREL, Aiken, South Carolina.



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University of Georgia

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Ecotherapy Aims to Tap into Nature to Improve Your Wellbeing

By Carly Wood, University of Westminster

As many as one in six adults experience mental health problems like depression or anxiety every week. And not only is mental ill-health one of the most common causes of disease worldwide – it’s also on the rise. Finding ways to improve mental health is therefore essential.

One type of therapy that is starting to become more popular is “ecotherapy”; which advocates claim can improve mental and physical wellbeing. Sometimes referred to as green exercise or green care, this type of formal therapeutic treatment involves being active in natural spaces. It’s also sighted to be one of 2020’s biggest wellness trends, though the practice is far from new.

Although definitions of ecotherapy vary, most agree it’s a regular, structured activity that is:

  1. therapist led
  2. focuses on an activity (such as gardening), rather than a health outcome
  3. takes place in a natural environment
  4. involves interacting with and exploring the natural world, and
  5. encourages social interaction.
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However, the key difference between ecotherapy and recreation is the presence of a trained practitioner or therapist. The role of the therapist is often overlooked, however they are key to facilitating the clients interactions with both the natural and social environment and setting clinical aims for the session. Examples of ecotherapy activities might include gardening, farming, woodland walks, and nature art and crafts. Like the client, the therapist actively takes part in the ecotherapy session; in fact, it’s often difficult to distinguish between the client and therapist.

But why do people believe ecotherapy is so beneficial to mental health? The scientific basis for ecotherapy comes from past research which has shown that natural settings are good for both mental and physical health. One systematic review analysed the benefits of natural environments for health and found that interacting with natural settings – such as walking or running in a public park – can provide a range of health benefits, including reduced stress and improved mood, wellbeing, and self-esteem.

Research has also shown that natural settings also encourage physical activity. For example, an ecotherapy gardening session not only involves interacting with nature but also the moderate-vigorous physical activity associated with gardening. Studies show that physical activity in natural settings has greater health benefits compared to physical activity in other environments. Some of these benefits include lower stress and improved mood.

Ecotherapy might also provide opportunities to socialise, giving another reason for its use as a mental health treatment. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to health as obesity. They’re also more harmful than physical inactivity and are as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Socialising is also associated with higher life expectancy, with research indicating a 50% increased likelihood of survival in elderly people who have strong social relationships.

Increased socialisation during ecotherapy sessions is beneficial to mental health. Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Ecotherapy can also give people a sense of achievement and purpose. It can provide structure and routine to people who might not have these in their lives, perhaps because of their poor mental health. Having structure and routine is one aspect of being employed that research shows is beneficial to mental health.

The therapist is not only key to facilitating the clients involvement in the natural and social environments; but also ensuring that each of the ecotherapy sessions have a defined purpose. It is common for both the client and therapist to be working towards achieving this aim. For example, in the case of an ecotheraphy gardening project the aim might be to develop a community garden. In recreation activities the specific environment, types and frequency of social interaction and purpose of the chosen activity are all driven by the participant.

The evidence for ecotherapy

Currently, much of the evidence showing the benefits of ecotherapy comes from qualitative data. For example, one study interviewed people referred to mental health services to understand the effects of ecotherapy. The programme reportedly improved physical and mental health, and provided daily structure and routine. It also allowed participants to learn new skills and socialise. But, there was no statistical data to support these findings. This means the study’s findings were based solely on the reported experiences of the participants, which might not provide an accurate picture of the effect ecotherapy would have on the wider population.

Despite this, research into ecotherapy’s benefits is growing. One in-depth analysis looked at nine different ecotherapy programmes. It found that people who had participated in any type of ecotherapy programme had significant improvements in self-esteem, wellbeing and social inclusion from the start of their treatment, and also felt more connected to nature. Participants also had significant improvements in mood, with feelings of anger, tension, depression, and confusion reduced after just one ecotherapy session.

Other studies have suggested reduced physiological stress, and improvements in anxiety, depression, mood, and self-esteem in people with a range of psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder, major depression, and better wellbeing and increased social engagement for people with dementia who took part in a gardening programme.

Despite increasing reports of the health benefits of ecotherapy, there is still a need for high quality scientific evidence to better support its effectiveness. However, large-scale, randomised, and rigorously controlled research is difficult, as all ecotherapy projects are unique. Each involve different activities and environments, varying exercise intensities, and participants may have a range of health needs. However, the versatility and uniqueness of these programmes might be the very thing that contributes to positive health outcomes.The Conversation

 


Carly Wood, Lecturer in Nutrition and Exercise Science, University of Westminster

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Scientists Find Cocaine And Ketamine In Freshwater Shrimp

By Mayukh Saha

We have been fighting a battle for our planet for quite some time now. While human activity has resulted in devastating effects all over the world in land, air and water, currently we are concerned about marine life. Corporations all over the world are trying to phase-out single-use plastic to bring a difference to the planet. So, when scientists discovered traces of drugs like cocaine and ketamine in shrimp, it gave them a surprise.

Researchers from King’s College in London, working in collaboration with the University of Suffolk (England), conducted certain experiments in 15 specific areas around Suffolk. The samples were collected from rivers Box, Alde, Gipping, Deben, and Waveney. What surprised the scientists was that the samples had traces of cocaine as well as traces of ketamine. Whether this issue is localised to the county of Suffolk or not is something that needs to be examined further. The testing has to be done all over the UK and even abroad if possible.

The world is already reeling under the pressure of microplastic pollution and climate change. This invisible chemical of drugs is a new addition that can potentially harass the wildlife of the country. This exposure of micropollutants on wildlife and organisms like the Gammarus pulex or freshwater shrimp has been documented in a study that has been published in Environment International. Along with the drugs, there were also the traces of banned pharmaceuticals and pesticides found in these shrimp. On the good side, the researchers believe that the potential harm of these substances on shrimp will be low.

However, according to a press release, the presence of these illicit drugs in these wildlife rich areas was really surprising for Dr Leon Barren. It is expected that such high content in wild- or marine life can be found more in urban areas than in rural areas. Another mystery remains, regarding the presence of banned pesticides in the shrimp. Traces of fenuron were also found, which is a pesticide that has been banned in the UK for a long time. The source remains unknown.

This is definitely an astonishing find. We just need to study more about it to find out the effect that it can have on wildlife. Hopefully, this does not turn out to be a tragic development like microplastics.

IMAGE CREDIT1: dolgachov

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Wild Bee Population Collapses By 90% In New England, Study Warns

By Tyler Durden

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire conducted a study to document declines in about 100 wild bee species critical to pollinating crops throughout New England. What they discovered, according to the study, was a collapse in the wild bee population across the state, reported AP.

Researchers analyzed 119 species in the state from a museum collection at the college dating back more than a century. Sandra Rehan and Minna Mathiasson published the study this month in the peer-reviewed journal called Insect and Conservation Diversity. They concluded 14 species found across New England were on the decline by as much as 90%. Several of the species include leafcutter and mining bees.

“We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide,” Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences and the senior author on the study, said in a prepared statement. “This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, besides the well-documented bumblebees. Because these species are major players in crop pollination, it raises concerns about compromising the production of key crops and the food supply in general.”

The AP noted that wild bee populations across the world are in decline, and scientists have blamed a wide range of factors including industrialization, insecticides, herbicides, parasites, disease, and climate change. Bees are crucial for pollination, and about one-third of the human diet derives from plants that are directly pollinated by bees.

Greg Burtt, founder of Burtt’s Apple Orchard in Cabot, Vermont, told the AP that his farm relies heavily on wild bees for crop production.

“Making sure that pollinators in the area are healthy and doing well is definitely something we’re concerned about,” Burtt said.

Jeff Lozier, a bee expert from the University of Alabama who didn’t participate in the study, said the results are a critical step in expanding research into lesser-known species of bees. He cautioned that the study relied upon bees in a museum that were not collected “for the purpose of large scale population surveys.”

“The most important use of the data in my view is in providing a baseline set of hypotheses for groups of species that are potentially declining or stable across a much greater set of species than is usually examined, which can then be investigated in more detail to determine why they may be changing,” Lozier said in an email interview. “This study doesn’t really determine the why quite yet, but gives us a reference point for further study.”

The study noticed that half of those wild bees on the decline were located in higher elevation regions like the White Mountains than in the state’s coastal areas. The study said as the wild bees shift northward, some of the species don’t have the same kind of flowers and plants to pollinate.

“They have nowhere else to go,” Rehan said. “That is the biggest concern.”

Rehan warned as wild bee populations collapse so will crop yields, which could produce food shortages across the country. She says wild bees are facing similar threats that have also caused honeybee populations to plunge – including the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, a lack of seasonal wild plant diversity and volatile weather.


Tyler Durden / Zero Hedge / Used with Permission

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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Bioelectricity and Chi – Bees Can Sense the Energy Fields of Flowers to Communicate With Them

By Alex Pietrowski

We still have so much to learn about the nature of our world and how living creatures communicate with each other. On very subtle, imperceptible levels, people, animals and even plants share information, giving us the ability to coexist. We don’t see it all or hear it all, but as technology catches up with our curiosity, we are evermore unraveling the mysteries of our inter-connectedness.

Parapsychologist and author of Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery, Rupert Sheldrake has advanced the theory of morphic resonance. In short, it’s the idea that some information lives in a natural external field beyond the brains and minds of living creatures, allowing inter-generational and non-local information to be shared amongst individual species of insects and animals.

Minds are extended beyond brains not only in space but also in time, and connect us to our own pasts through memory and to virtual futures, among which we choose… Individual and collective memory both depend on resonance, but self-resonance from an individual’s own past is more specific and hence more effective. Animal and human learning may be transmitted by morphic resonance across space and time. ~Rupert Sheldrake

Additionally, humans communicate with other humans in myriad ways beyond speech, using facial expressions, body language, breathing, and even through our ‘vibe.’ Without saying a word, we often know exactly what to make of another person, and we naturally know to trust them or not. That is, so long as we pay attention and respond to our ‘gut feelings,’ those instinctive instructions that come from below the level of thought.

Bridging the gap between the possibility of the existence of morphic fields, recent experiments into how bees perceive their world has led to the discovery that bees can actually sense the electric fields of blooming flowers, using this information to make choices that support the bees survival.

Dominic Clarke and Heather Whitney from the University of Bristol have shown that bumblebees can sense the electric field that surrounds a flower. They can even learn to distinguish between fields produced by different floral shapes, or use them to work out whether a flower has been recently visited by other bees. Flowers aren’t just visual spectacles and smelly beacons. They’re also electric billboards. ~National Geographic

For decades scientists have known that bees bump into and collide with charged particles ejected from flowers and plants, but until now, no one had asked the question of whether or not the bees were cognizant of this exchange, and if they were using it to their advantage in any way.

To their surprise, the team of scientists from the University of Bristol, led by Daniel Robert, discovered that not only are the bees somehow aware of variations in the strength of the electrical signals from flowers, but that they were actually using this information to select certain flowers in their search for food. Furthermore, they found the bees could actually perceive differences in the shapes of the flowers.

Bees can also use this electric information to bolster what their other senses are telling them. The team trained bees to discriminate between two e-flowers that came in very slightly different shades of green. They managed it, but it took them 35 visits to reach an accuracy of 80 percent. If the team added differing electric fields to the flowers, the bees hit the same benchmark within just 24 visits. ~National Geographic

They’re not yet certain of how bees actually register electric fields, but the mechanisms may be similar to other animals that sense electric fields, such as sharks.  Interestingly, the bees in turn influence the electrical fields of the flowers they come in contact with.

The bees, in turn, change the charge of whatever flower they land upon. Robert’s team showed that the electrical potential in the stem of a petunia goes up by around 25 millivolts when a bee lands upon it. This change starts just before the bee lands, which shows that it’s nothing to do with the insect physically disturbing the flower. And it lasts for just under two minutes, which is longer than the bee typically spends on its visit. ~National Geographic

To go beyond this particular discovery, the ancient study of life force energy, or chi, and the meta-physical practices of Qi Gong and yoga specifically work with the human body’s capacity to receive, store and transmit energy. Recent studies are also finally beginning to technically perceive energy meridian lines in the body, that have been a major branch of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Master of QI Gong and author of The Roots of Chinese QI Gong: Secrets of Health, Longevity and Enlightenment, Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang believes that the term ‘bioelectricity’ best connects the Eastern and Western perspectives on the energetic makeup of living beings.

We must look at what modern Western science has discovered about bioelectromagnetic energy. Many bioelectricity related reports have been published, and frequently the results are closely related to what is experienced in Chinese Qigong training and medical science. For example, during the electrophysiological research of the 1960’s, several investigators discovered that bones are piezoelectric; that is, when they are stressed, mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy in the form of electric current. This might explain one of the practices of Marrow Washing Qigong in which the stress on the bones and muscles is increased in certain ways to increase the Qi circulation.

5G and Electromagnetic Chaos

All living beings are connected through very sensitive and omnipresent electric and electromagnetic fields. The more closely tuned into this field we are, the more information we collect, helping us to expand our limited perceptions of the world around us, and to increase our connection with one another and with nature.

Western science has been missing this for a long time, but it’s right front of us. All the while, however, we are rushing headlong into a technological future of electromagnetic chaos, with 5G technology presenting itself as a looming catastrophe for the planet. If what we know is true, 5G and other electromagnetic pollution could be another catastrophe for bees and pollinator insects, which are already under startling duress.

What do you think? Can you perceive this electrical energy in and around your body, and should we be so cavalier in allowing technological advancement to alter and disrupt this?


Read more articles by Alex Pietrowski

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

This article (Bioelectricity and Chi – Bees Can Sense the Energy Fields of Flowers to Communicate With Themoriginally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com

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Stressed Out? New Study Suggests You Need a 20-Minute “Nature Pill”

By Amanda Froelich

The idea of retreating to nature when life gets too hectic is nothing new. For instance, this study suggests that negative ions in natural environments benefit those suffering from depression and anxiety and contribute to feelings of mental-wellbeing. But, for the first time ever researchers have deduced a specific dose of an urban nature experience to counteract the effects of stress. The researchers concluded that a 20-minute “nature pill” is sufficient to significantly reduce stress hormone levels.

“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of the research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”

Credit: Pixabay

The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology. The researchers hope the finding encourages health practitioners to consider prescribing a “nature pill” before conventional treatments.

As GoodNewsNetwork reports, nature pills could be a low-cost solution to reduce the health effects associated with high stress levels which stem from growing urbanization and indoor lifestyles. Hunter and her colleagues wanted to provide evidence-based guidelines for prescribing a nature pill, so they designed an experiment that gives a realistic estimate of an effective dose.

Over an 8-week period, participants of the study were asked to take a nature pill with a duration of 10 minutes or more, at least 3 times a week. Before and after the nature pill, levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were measured from saliva samples.

“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature,” explained Hunter. “There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading.

Building personal flexibility into the experiment allowed us to identify the optimal duration of a nature pill, no matter when or where it is taken, and under the normal circumstances of modern life, with its unpredictability and hectic scheduling,” she continued. “We also accommodated day-to-day differences in a participant’s stress status by collecting four snapshots of cortisol change due to a nature pill,” says Hunter. “It also allowed us to identify and account for the impact of the ongoing, natural drop in cortisol level as the day goes on, making the estimate of effective duration more reliable.”

Credit: Pixabay

After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that a 20-minute nature experience is enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. They also found that if you spend more time in nature (between 20 and 30 minutes), cortisol levels dropped at the greatest rate. Past 30 minutes, additional de-stressing benefits continue to add up, albeit at a slower rate.

“Healthcare practitioners can use our results as an evidence-based rule of thumb on what to put in a nature-pill prescription,” said Hunter. “It provides the first estimates of how nature experiences impact stress levels in the context of normal daily life. It breaks new ground by addressing some of the complexities of measuring an effective nature dose.”

Hunter and her colleagues hope that this study inspires further research in this area.

“Our experimental approach can be used as a tool to assess how age, gender, seasonality, physical ability and culture influences the effectiveness of nature experiences on well-being. This will allow customized nature pill prescriptions, as well as a deeper insight on how to design cities and wellbeing programs for the public,” Hunter concluded.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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After The Largest Beach Clean Up In History Baby Turtles Returned To The Beaches Of Mumbai

By Mayukh Saha

The Versova Beach in Mumbai was once a garbage dump. But it has undergone the world’s largest beach clean-up process and it was a massive success. No, not just by sight. The Versova beach was once home to Olive Ridley turtles. As soon as the clean-up process was over, to the delight of conservationists, roughly 80 baby turtles were spotted, trying to go across the Versova beach. An activist from Mumbai, Afroz Shah, had his eyes fill up with tears when he saw these babies walk in the direction of the ocean.

It must have been after a couple of decades that these turtles were spotted here. The beach was an important point of rest for these turtles when they migrated to the Arabian sea. Now, watching these turtles come back makes the entire clean-up process worth it. Shah started the drive back in October 2015. And it took about two whole years for the volunteers to clear this beach and to remove the heaps of trash present on the beach. It was almost five feet high and had clogged the beach in such a way that it barred the access point of the turtles. But now, the beach is clean and the turtles are free to roll in the sand as they used to do decades earlier.

Shah had been the person who gathered the volunteers and organized the clean-up process. They educated the locals to not use the beach like a landfill and cleaned up the river systems too. Shah also took the effort to clean up about 52 restrooms around the area and planted about 50 coconut trees along the beach. The entire clean-up process took about two years and they had collected 11 million pounds of garbage in the process. The entire team is also planning to plant mangrove trees which will help counter the excess flooding in the area and also improve the water quality.

In December 2016, the United Nations awarded Shah with the Champion of the Earth Award due to his clean-up efforts and the wonderful outcome of the return of Oliver Ridley turtles to Mumbai. The project was named ‘World’s largest beach clean-up effort’ back in July 2016.

Shah is an inspiration and we should follow his example to make changes in our environment too. We need to make it habitable for us and for the animals that share this planet with us.


Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, design and social media management. I am an avid traveler and want to go full digital nomadic by summer 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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