Nature is a Remedy
There is a 2022 study published in a medical journal on Community Health that reported that a mere 10--15% increase in access to natural space was linked to a 7% drop in early deaths in people younger than 65. Even moderate levels of access seemed to make a difference.
This study, endorsing nature as a remedy, is one of hundreds worldwide that validate how nature benefits public health and wellness; it has always been central to River Action and is at the core of the work of our Retain the Rain program, our trail building, river events, education, and the QC Flood Resiliency Alliance. Those programs were all initiated to create nature-based solutions for stormwater, access to parks in all neighborhoods, healthy outdoor recreation for all ages, advocacy for needed access and greenspace, and flood prevention in frequently flooded areas. They were initiated to benefit human and environmental health. And, they increase resiliency. We want our cities resilient and here for the long term.
That our work is grounded in science is a good thing, but the fact that we present many outdoor activities for all ages at the same time is even better. One of our summer activities is Explore and Seek, an outdoor scavenger hunt in our Wild Places. All told, it drives invention and collaboration, and is reimagining the Quad Cities with a mantle of nature protecting it.
We need to remind ourselves of nature being a remedy and protecting us, tell it to ourselves--make it our frame of reference for all we do. It means healthy water, air, access for all, tree-lined streets and riverbanks on a beautiful river. It is a reference for multiple plans and goal setting for our city leaders.
It is not just the beauty of nature that I refer to here, but the spirit of being joined by a river and enjoying nature’s splendor. Paintings of natural landscapes are beautiful, too, but you can’t get out and into them. I’m referring to the remedy that Waldon Pond brought Henry David Thoreau. Look around. There are plenty of wild areas, riverfronts, and parks to appreciate in the Quad Cities. Nature is a remedy.