Nature conservation is an uphill challenge as human-induced climate change and the way we manage land degrades wild habitats and disrupts wildlife migration, breeding and feeding patterns. Now nature conservation could face another human activity issue in terms of the Right to Roam campaign. Their goal of “free, fair and informed access to nature throughout England” came a step closer when the Labour Party pledged to introduce a Scottish-style right-to-roam law in England. But while we might welcome the freedom to access nature regardless of wealth, how do we balance people’s health and recreational needs with nature’s health and survival?
Autumn is my favourite time to get outdoors and go for a walk. Pick a sunny day and the backdrop of blue sky with golden trees takes your breath away. On days like this, my worries float away with the falling leaves.
When life’s stresses weigh me down, a walk in the woods puts the spring back in my step. When I’m breathing in the earthiness of a downpour or watching birds take flight, I feel alive. Continue reading →
We all have favourite books. Some books explore the human condition, helping us understand ourselves and each other. Other books teach us about nature with fascinating stories of wildlife and wilderness. Books that have the power to change us are those that challenge our beliefs and offer new perspectives. These books can lead us to live a more conscientious and compassionate life.
I’d like to share some of my favourite books in the areas of health and wellness, sustainable and ethical living, wildlife conservation, and family and education. These books have enlightened and inspired me to live a more considered life. I hope some of these books may help you in your life too. Continue reading →
Education, communication and cooperation form the cornerstone from which societies build and improve on past ways of living. Whether knowledge is communicated in schools or universities, through media, or within communities, families and social circles, it can prompt us to question our thinking and our behaviour.
With technology linking us across the world, the connection of people and the communication of ideas is a catalyst for global change. Through the internet, we can exchange problems and find solutions.
Rather than welcome vegan diet popularity, vegans are quibbling over terms
I read a post on Plant Based News reporting that health expert Dr Oz dedicated an entire episode of his show to the vegan diet, predicting that veganism is going to be the “single biggest movement of 2017.”
That should be good news for vegans.
But instead of welcoming the rise in popularity of vegan diets and the positive knock-on effect for animal welfare, the environment and human health, some vegans are quibbling over terms. Continue reading →
A major supermarket chain supporting farmers and animal welfare is welcome news, especially in light of past price wars
Asda will be the first supermarket to stock Free Range Dairy Network milk carrying the Pasture Promise, which is encouraging news for animal welfare advocates. To be awarded Pasture Promise certification, free-range dairy herds must be grazed outside for a minimum of six months each year and farmers aren’t permitted to shoot calves at birth. Continue reading →
Help garden birds through the winter and feel the warmth of nature
The rental property we moved to recently was built on land where an old bungalow used to be. Except for three conifers, the garden was cleared and laid to lawn except for an empty flower bed which I turned over the other week hoping to attract robins and blackbirds with worms.
Imagine British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been invited to give a speech at a university conference on sustainability. Imagine her topic was the discrepancy between the clean, green image created by the ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign and the environmental reality. Imagine she wanted to inform the audience of this discrepancy; to persuade them it is economically damaging as well as morally unacceptable; and to motivate them to take action. As a scientist and politician, she knew the importance of commerce, government and environmental groups working together, and as an effective public speaker, she knew the power of words. Imagine this was her speech.Continue reading →
It’s easy to overlook the local nature in our gardens and neighbourhood, but regular contact helps us tap into our roots
Unless we’re lucky enough to live in the countryside, if we want to spend time in nature, we might wait for a day when we can head to a nature reserve, a wildlife sanctuary, or the coast. But in our busy life, days can turn to weeks, and weeks to months while we miss out on local nature.
Truth is that for many of us, the benefits of time in nature can be enjoyed much closer to home. Continue reading →
Spending time in nature has many health benefits, yet we find ourselves more removed from the natural world
In economically developed countries, we enjoy medical and technological advances that improve our health and lifespan. We have education, transport, energy, and communication systems that give us greater opportunities for careers, business and travel, as well as a more comfortable lifestyle.
Researchers identify that rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually associated with dreaming, is critical to converting daytime experiences into memories required for normal brain function
Researchers say their findings help to explain how children’s learning is affected by inadequate REM sleep, and how medication commonly prescribed for hyperactivity or depression interferes with this sleep.
Carbohydrates have been left off the menu by dietary fads favouring protein, but a study on human brain evolution suggests a key role for starchy carbs
Paleolithic diets are increasing in popularity in the belief that a return to our ancestor’s diet can curb the upward trend in obesity and diet-related health issues.
Scientists agree there are health gains when our diet aligns with our evolutionary past because our physiology is optimised for that diet. Yet there is little agreement about what makes up a healthy diet and what comprises the Paleolithic diet of Old Stone Age man.
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd estimates 250 pilot whales were killed last week. Is it time tradition was buried with whale bones littering the seabed?
Sea Shepherd protestors have been arrested trying to stop the pilot whale hunts in the Faroe Islands, but video footage and photographs by other group members captured the horrors of the mass slaughter.
The whale hunt known as the grindadráp, or “grind”, is a centuries old tradition with recorded history dating back to 1584, according to whaling proponents Whaling.fo. The whale meat and blubber once provided an important food source for the Faroese people, and whale oil was used for cooking and export. Continue reading →
New research reveals a strong link between sleep deprivation and depression in adolescents that could guide better prevention and treatment
In a new study published in the journal Sleep, U.S. researchers found that up to 25% of adolescents slept for 6 hours or less per night, and were classed as sleep deprived. With early school times, weekend jobs and social media, it’s no surprise that adolescents don’t get enough sleep, putting them at risk of major depression.
Next time you take a painkiller, your sensitivity to pain may not be the only thing reduced. You may also be reducing your sensitivity to pleasure
Researchers in the U.S have found that the common pain reliever acetaminophen has a previously unknown side effect of reducing positive emotion.
Previous studies show that acetaminophen reduces both physical and psychological pain, but this new study, published online in the journal Psychological Science, is the first to examine the effect on positive emotions.
If you feel awe on seeing a breath-taking view, joy on hearing a song thrush’s trills, or contentment on listening to Mozart, you may also enjoy good health
Researchers in a study at UC Berkeley found a biological pathway between positive emotions and good health that involves pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Cytokines are proteins that interact with immune system cells to regulate the inflammatory response to infection, disease and injury. However, sustained high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines can be damaging and are associated with type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and clinical depression. Continue reading →
Research revealing that sleep cleanses the brain of toxins has been awarded a top prize in the advancement of science
Scientists have long sought to establish the function of sleep, proposing that there must be a more essential function than the storing and consolidation of memories, considering an animal’s vulnerability during the sleep state. Sleep is also known to have a restorative effect on the human brain, and lack of sleep impairs brain function, but how does this occur?