A recent study from UK reported that living in and around green space is good for us — something that I think many of us know intrinsicly. According to a BBC article on the report, it had a tenth the effect of being employed (or presumably unemployed as well). It had me thinking, is all green space created equal? Some of my recent experience says, NO!
In the past week I have hiked on the beach at Point Reyes National Sea Shore, and closer to home walked along the shoreline at Point Pinole Regional Park. Both are shorefront parks, both offer green space close or within the Bay Area. But the differences stop there and my body noticed it before my mind digested it. After a few hours on the beach at Point Reyes I was relaxed and calm — the loudest sound was the rhythmic crashing of the waves and the backdrop was the grassy bluffs punctuated with lupins and poppy. A similar time at Point Pinole left me on happy to have been in the sun, but on edge. The primary culprit was the distant firing range with gunfire punctuating my walk. And the backdrop was invasive grasses, ivy and fragrant Eucalyptus. Leave aside the rhythmic gunfire from the range, the entirely non-native backdrop just doesn’t feel as good to me — call it the curse of knowledge.
A walk in the local park is great, but lets hear it for our large wild spaces where we can truly relax and connect with something bigger.