I grew up in Johannesburg – a city with about 6 million trees to its name. As a child, there was something wonderful about living in this treed-up city. Whether you were walking to the corner cafe or visiting the park, the presence of nature and the knobbly trees provided a great sanctuary for my imagination. To this day I’m still able to recall my favourite tree on the school playground- a large Oak that provided seats for friends with its broad worn-down roots.
There is a reason why nature evokes such a strong emotions and recent studies have shown that the benefits of nature are undeniable. The growth of physical skills occur due to increased time spent doing physical activity- jumping, running and climbing are all a big part of exploring the outdoors. Being close to nature can also have direct physical benefits such as decreasing inflammation and improving one’s vision. The large tracts of evidence are even more persuading when it comes to emotional benefits: improved creativity, concentration and mental health. For children, there is also a opportunity for learning in the ever changing environment of the outdoors, pushing physical and emotional boundaries to their upmost. How far can I jump? If I move, what happens to the reflection in the water?
There is however a very sad truth when it comes to nature. For the most part, for it to be enjoyed is a luxury. In urban centers, people from impoverished areas do not have access to friendly, safe green spaces. If there is a tree, it is likely to be cut down for wood, space or safety. The green areas that do exist are certainly not clean or safe enough and there is no money to maintain or shape them into a positive environment.
This is why I decided to start Growing Green. Growing Green is a Non Profit Organisation that hopes to contribute to increasing one’s exposure to nature in some small way. Hand in hand with schools and some amazing community based businesses, we aim to greenify and improve the environment in which people find themselves every day.
If you would like to help in any way or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are also present on facebook, you can follow along here.