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This article focuses on the paramount role that forests play in our lives and the important factors they contribute to human health. This article is intended to affect audiences in such a way that makes one question prior beliefs around the relationship between the Earth and humans, and encourages one to think more critically about how other media outlets may portray these issues. I hope that this article sparks a lightbulb in whomever reads it, I feel that when one reads a less commonly displayed argument, it promotes the audience to see that we need to be questioning what the media shows us to be important, and to be eager to learn information through an array of sources. It is important during this mass media time period to understand that the information we gain should be coming from multiple news sources. We cannot bring the positive impacts that are desperately needed to this world if we base all of our knowledge off of one news outlet. Hopefully readers begin to see that there are major issues in this world that are not touched on by your typical news stations on TV, and that these problems are real and exist, and we must educate ourselves on all sides on an issue, even if our local newspapers are not focusing on them. This topic, the effects that forests have on human health, is a great catalyst for starting to change humanity’s views on the mutualistic relationship between humans and Earth. 

 

The relationship that is shared between Earth and humans is magnificently fascinating, and this relationship has been slowly dissolving for too long. Humans cannot survive without nature, but nature can survive. Nature plays a huge role in a human life span, it provides life to a human as well as animals. We have been disconnected in many different ways from this vital connection to nature for various reasons. Whether it’s technology that has brought us further away from understanding nature, or the fact that there is so much going on in our daily lives that we don’t make time to connect with nature, the fact still remains that humanity is in need of this vital reconnection. The more we learn about the vast affects nature has on our well-being, the more time we can take to learn about the health of the Earth and the responsibilities we have that have been ignored. 

The relationships between human health and well-being have in recent years begun to receive increasing attention in international discussion and policy processes, however we as the people need to be more aware of this topic, because when change begins at a personal level they ripple through the world in a stronger manner, like the butterfly effect. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has listed ecosystems goods and services that are crucial for human survival and without which life on Earth would not be possible. This assessment proves that forests and trees supply an abundance of ecosystem services that help in creating healthy living environments and in restoring degraded ecosystems. Forests also mitigate floods, droughts, the effects of noise, purify water, bind toxic substances, maintain water quality and soil fertility, help in erosion control, protect drinking water resources, and can assist with processing wastewater. Forests can mitigate climate change and help in regulating infectious diseases. Woodlands and trees have a positive impact on air quality through deposition of pollutants to the vegetation canopy, reduction of summertime air temperatures, and decrease of ultraviolet radiation. Forests also provide recreational, cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic services. 

Forests have also been proven to benefit our physical, emotional and spiritual health in magnificent ways. Studies have proven that spending short amounts of time in forests benefits our immune systems. A study done on elderly patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease experiences decreases in performing and granzyme B expressions, as well as decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines- all related to better immune function- after they visited forests rather than urban areas. A prior study also proved that trees improve immunity thanks to the certain aromatic compounds they release. Trees help our health in so many other ways as well; another study done proved that people struggling with heart health issues had lowered blood pressure, cortisol levels, pulse rates, and sympathetic nervous system activity (related to stress), while increasing their parasympathetic nervous system (related to relaxation). These studies prove that spending more time in nature, specifically around trees, improves our health on every level. I find it incredibly fascinating that nature can heal us on so many different levels, and it’s available to us for free! I urge readers to take the time to learn about the benefits that forests have on our health, as well as ways in which forests are currently being destroyed. It is up to us to put an end to the destruction of these vital forests, and protect them to the best of our abilities. 

Incidences of poor health have increased in urbanized societies, partly due to expanding urbanization and modern lifestyles that are related to increasing sedentary work and mental stress. Growing stress is connected with urban living and contemporary work practices dominated by high technology and virtual worlds. And it seems that current health care practices alone cannot solve these problems. We need to recognize that natural and green spaces enhance human health. Forest environments promote humans’ mental and physical health; forests help in reducing stress and in recovering from attentional fatigue, and generally forests strongly enhance both psychological and physical rehabilitation. Research on the restorative influences of nature has been dominated by two theories, one emphasizing stress reduction and the other focusing on the recovery of the capacity to focus attention. Forests may assist both in preventing illnesses that are mediated by psychological processes such as stress and in curing diseases such as burn-out and depression. Green areas can also help in establishing personal and community identity, social activity, and social participation. 

It is obvious that nature, forests specifically, have a huge impact on our health, and with new and improved studies these impacts very well might be vital to life on Earth. Unfortunately, with the destruction of forests happening everyday at an alarmingly fast rate, we can also see the decline of human health increasing, mentally and physically, happening all around the world. It is imperative that we bring an end to deforestation, and start to use the alternative resources we already know about, before it is too late to restore our forests and restore humanities health.