The Power of Green Spaces
You can get that holiday feeling any time if you have access to a green space. We collected some facts about the practical gifts of verdant sanctuaries, and selected some TEC staff favourites from the Easter Break.
The power of green spaces is something our speakers elucidated at our recent SOS Green Spaces Forum - they cited research ranging from medical to economic.
73% of Australians regard their garden as a sanctuary. Probably because those who live more than 1km away from a green space are nearly 50 percent more likely to experience stress than those living less than 300 meters from one. In fact, mothers with trees within 50m of their homes are less likely to have underweight babies. If you live near a green space you are also less likely to suffer from obesity and diseases such as diabetes.
We are all 17% more productive when surrounded by trees and plants. Customers will pay around 10% more when they shop in a tree lined street. Maybe that's because trees can lower the temperature on a hot day by up to 8 degrees. They also remove air pollution, and the bigger they are, the more particulates they filter out. One large tree can absorb 150kg of carbon dioxide a year. It can intercept over 5,000 litres of water in the course of a year, reducing urban runoff, pressure on stormwater systems, creeks and rivers.
Cities can be up to 12 degrees hotter than rural areas during heat waves, so we need trees to mitigate what is known as "urban heat island effect." When planted near buildings trees can cut air conditioning use by 30%. The energy savings are significant. High temperatures also increase the potential for mistakes or injuries, cause sleep deprivation and reduce physical performance. Studies have shown increases in aggressive and violent behaviour in hot weather. In the next three years deaths from heat stress in Australia will over take the road toll.
Clearly, to feel energised, relaxed, cool and oxegynated, we all need a daily dose of green space....