This from Forbes is actually a pretty good start. All media outlets should commit to such a policy:
“Trump’s liars don’t merit that same golden parachute. Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie… Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”
Jackie attended the annual Illinois Master Naturalist’s conference last week, and came away with any number of interesting tidbits, but one in particular stuck with me: Forest bathing is like ergonomics.
Both Jackie and I have had our understanding of ergonomics informed by Katy Bowman, who points out:
Modern ergonomics is not the scientific pursuit of what is best for the human body, but the scientific pursuit of how the human body can be positioned (in one position, for eight or more hours at a time) for the purpose of returning to work the next day, and then the next and the next and the next.
What Jackie learned at her conference was that the Japanese concept of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) has roots in the same idea. When Japanese salarymen started dying from overwork, a lack of exposure to nature was put forward as a partial explanation.
If the problem is a lack of exposure to nature, then immersing yourself in nature is an obvious solution. But, of course, actually immersing yourself in nature would take too much time out of the workday. Hence the research into forest bathing is all about finding the minimum effective dose. There is little or no research into figuring out the optimum time for humans to spend in nature.
Keep that in mind when you read yet another article about how just looking at a forest scene for 20 minutes reduces salivary cortisol 13.4%, or walking in the woods for just 40 minutes improves mood and boosts feelings of health and robustness.
I’m not so much interested in the answer to the question, “What’s the least number of minutes I can spend in nature and not die early from overwork?”
I’m more interested in questions like:
If I go for a walk in the prairie, is that as good as going for a walk in the woods? Do I get added benefits if I divide my time between them?
Is doing my workout under a tree in a nicely mowed lawn as good as doing it in the woods?
Is running past a cornfield or soybean field nearly as good as running down a forest path? How about running past a row of osage orange trees? A suburban lawn? Between two suburban lawns on the other sides of 6-foot privacy fences?
If I can’t get to an actual natural area, how should I choose among possibilities like a park, an arboretum, a formal garden, a managed forest, or an unmanaged thicket? How do various water features (lake, stream, creek, natural pond, detention pond, drainage ditch, etc.) affect the benefits?
Is just sitting on a concrete patio outdoors better than sitting indoors?
I have my own tentative answers to many of these questions, but very little data.
“Requiring demonstration of inadequate means up-front, rather than on the back-end, creates at best a delay between when a shock is experienced and when it can be ameliorated. “Delay” can mean your kid skips meals, you start rationing your insulin, or your family is evicted from its home. It’s a big deal.”
For a fee… you can take your Zoom calls from a real pristine white sandy beach, instead of merely selecting it as a virtual background.
In actual fact, I’m not well-suited to remote work. I lurch toward polar-opposite failure modes (getting no work done at all, and turning my home into a digital sweatshop). But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to live and work (remotely) on a Caribbean island.
Way back on June 9th I ordered a fancy new umbrella. The vendor created a shipping label that very day, and sent me a tracking number. For reasons (perhaps among them, as they claim on their website, precautions in the warehouse against COVID-19), it was six days before they actually handed the package over to the shipper.
As soon as I’d ordered it, I looked ahead at the weather forecast, wondering if there’d be some rain to use it in, but it looked like a full week of dry weather. Of course, after it took a week to actually ship the package, things had changed. Happily, the package was on-track to arrive Saturday—I’d have my new brolly in hand just hours ahead of forecast thunderstorms!
But then the package followed a mysterious path on it’s way from Wisconsin to Illinois:
Jun 9 2020 Shipment information received
Jun 15 2020 Shipment tendered to UPS MI BELLEVILLE, WI
Jun 15 2020 Package received for processing Avenel, NJ
Jun 16 2020 Package processed by UPS MI Avenel, NJ
Jun 17 2020 Package transferred to dest MI facility Avenel, NJ
Jun 19 2020 Package received by dest MI facility Kansas City, MO
Jun 20 2020 Package enroute to USPS for induction Kansas City, MO
20 Jun 2020 22:29 Shipment Acceptance at PO Hazelwood, MO
In what way is this a sensible?
I mean, I’m willing to cut the vendor some slack for taking six days between sending shipment information and then actually tendering the package. I’m sure precautions against COVID-19 reduce their efficiency in shipping things out of their warehouse. But sending the package from Wisconsin to Illinois via New Jersey and then Missouri? They spent 5 days getting the package to a different adjacent state, to a city only 72 miles closer than where it started!
Now that the package is in the hands of the post office, I figure it will actually get here in a couple of days, just about the time the wet weather ends and it gets sunny and dry for a few days.