Friday, January 01, 2016

B21’s New Year Message

The committee of Barkingside 21 wish all our readers a happy and healthy new year; may you be at peace and at one with nature in 2016 and beyond.

It seems that the powers that be have finally realised that nature plays a vital role in both the physical and mental wellbeing of us human beings. So much so that the health professionals have taken to using “Green Prescriptions”, that is avoiding the use of drugs and prescribing a course of treatment that involves reconnection with nature through some sort of outdoor pursuit.

Why your GP may be recommending a dose of the great outdoors in 2016
Next time you visit your GP expecting to leave with a prescription for meds, you might be in for a surprise. Instead of the usual printout, you might find yourself clutching a (sometimes literally) green alternative, prescribing an agreed activity outside – a weekly group walk, perhaps, or involvement in a local conservation project. The idea, say advocates, is to shift the focus of prescriptions from illness to wellness, getting more people better and potentially saving the NHS from financial ruin.
So-called “green prescriptions” have long been the norm in New Zealand, as well as in some parts of Australia and the United States, and they’re becoming increasingly popular over here. “Studies on life expectancy show that lack of exercise is now second only to smoking in causing premature deaths,” says Dr Tim Ballard, vice chair of the Royal College of GPs, who adds that mounting evidence points to the health benefits of being out and about in green spaces – less tension, stress and depression; lower blood pressure; improved immune system responses; lower levels of obesity; and milder ADHD symptoms in children, just to name a few.
So, it's ever more important that we hang on to our green open spaces and Green Belt. They are the lungs of our collective life support system. And the role of our Nature Conservation Team, with their events and volunteer days, can no longer be dismissed as just bugs and bees. They are now human health professionals, an integral part of our National Health Service.

volunteering at Claybury Wood
Here’s some more reading (click on the links for the full story) …

We need fewer exams and more wilderness in education.
Government plans to introduce national tests for seven-year-olds shows just how far our exam obsession has come. Our kids now face constant assessment as politicians attempt to measure the success of schools. Children have become tiny cogs in a box-ticking government machine. Education has lost its way. 
The wilderness rescued me. I have been shaped by my experiences in the great outdoors. Feeling comfortable in the wild gave me the confidence to be who I am, not who others want me to be. There is a natural simplicity to nature; it is far more tactile and tangible than the classroom. It’s a leveller; it strengthened my character and set me back on track.
Something Extraordinary Is Happening in the World, And Most People Haven't Noticed
  1. No one can stand the employment model any longer. We are reaching our limits. People working with big corporations can't stand their jobs. The lack of purpose knocks on your door as if it came from inside you like a yell of despair.
  2. The entrepreneurship model is also changing. Over the past few years, with the explosion of startups, thousands of entrepreneurs turned their garages into offices to bring their billion-dollar ideas to life.
  3. The rise of collaboration. Many people have figured out that it doesn't make any sense to go on by yourself. Many people have awakened from the "each man for himself" mad mentality.
  4. We are finally figuring out what the Internet is. The Internet is an incredibly spectacular thing, and only now -- after so many years -- we are understanding its power. With the Internet, the world is opened, the barriers fall, the separation ends, the togetherness starts, the collaboration explodes, the help emerges.
  5. The fall of exaggerated consumerism. For too long, we've been manipulated to consume as much as we possibly can, to buy every new product launched -- the newest car, the latest iPhone, the top brands, lots of clothes, shoes, lots and lots and lots of pretty much anything we could our hands on.
  6. Healthy and organic eating. We were so crazy we even accepted eating anything! It only needed to taste good, and everything would be alright. We were so disconnected that companies started to practically poison our food, and we didn't say anything! But then some people started waking up, enabling and strengthening healthy and organic eating.
  7. The awakening of spirituality. How many friends do you have who practice yoga? What about meditation? Now think back, 10 years ago. How many people did you know by then who practiced these activities?
  8. Un-schooling trends. We developed a model that perpetuates and replicates followers of the system, that breed people into ordinary human beings. Fortunately, a lot of people are working to rethink that though concepts such as un-schooling, hack-schooling and homeschooling.

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