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Research shows that nature positively affects all aspects of life for individuals and communities. Nature has the potential to make a difference in the way people experience the world, improving their physical and mental well-being, as well as providing them a context within which to adapt and grow.
Schools that have embraced a nature-based curriculum are rewarded with higher test scores, fewer discipline problems, and an altogether more engaged and enthusiastic student population. Nature also aids concentration and productivity. Children diagnosed with ADD suffer fewer symptoms after playtime outside, and kids living in green environments show better cognitive development and functioning. Workers employed in buildings with natural elements are seen to be happier and more effective. Students do better on tests in the presence of natural light.
Seeing nature or being outside lowers stress levels and calms heart-rates, as well as being a mood-elevator and acting as a restorative environment. Hospital patients heal quicker when the outside world is visible to them, and older people living near green spaces tend to live longer than their concrete-jungle counterparts. The presence of nature brings neighbors closer together, and there appears to be a correlation between vegetation and a reduction in crime and violence. Also, in inner city areas, people living with more greenery were found to cope better with poverty and express more optimism about their lives.
To be sure, the benefits of nature, applying as they do in so many different ways and to all people, no matter what age or social status, make it clear that an attachment to the outside world is a crucial component of a healthy and successful life.