Open Voices Blog

News and conversations about the growing evidence of the healing power of nature and green development in cities

Open Voices News Roundup: September 9

Posted on 09/09/13

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Bring Down The Barriers! Five Causes of Nature-Deficit Disorder; Five Challenges for the New Nature Movement
“In the 21st Century, our Great Work – as Thomas Berry put it – must be the creation of a new, restorative relationship with the rest of the natural world. It’s time to envision that future. It’s time to bring down the barriers, which are not only between people and nature, but also between people… It’s time to bring down the barriers. Hard? Of course. But we can do the best we can while we’re here on Earth, and millions of children will surely experience the wonder of nature that past generations took for granted.”

Tree Study Proves the Clean Air Act is Saving Forests
“…In 1970 congress enacted a pivotal environmental legislation that cleared America’s skylines. Decades later, scientists are still discovering ways that the Clean Air Act has helped protect mother nature. Researchers have proved that the Clean Air Act has helped forest ecosystems recover from long-term acid rain. In a four year study of eastern red cedar trees (Juniperus virginiana) in the Central Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, scientists found that the trees have improved in growth since 1970… Besides reducing acid rain, the Clean Air Act has reduced the amount of particulate pollution Americans breath, preventing thousands of respiratory-related diseases and deaths. The Clean Air Act also prompted innovation in clean technologies that are used in vehicles, energy plants, and even home devices. Environmental legislation is important because it goes beyond economic benefits, but can also be directly tied to increased public health and quality of life Americans experience.”

New Park is Part of Health Outreach for Northern West Sacramento
“On Tuesday of last week (August 20), local civic leaders and local families celebrated the opening of West Sacramento’s newest city park. Westfield Park — adjacent to Westfield Village Elementary School — resulted from a “grassroots effort led by parents, a unique partnership between a coalition of stakeholders – including the city of West Sacramento, and Washington Unified School District – and a $150,000 Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grant awarded to Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA),” reports Edwin Garcia, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman…The effort to create the park, and the neighborhood initiatives headed by YCCA – such as the desire to reduce childhood obesity, increasing nutrition awareness, and offering Zumba classes to parents – found to be in alignment with Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living initiative.”

Urban Ecology Opening Draws VIPs, Crowds
“All earth tones, stained wood and dark metal, the Urban Ecology Center at Phil Hardberger Park offers 18,600 square feet of education and meeting space, as well as picnic areas, and nearly three miles of new trails…“This Urban Ecology Center will be the intellectual center of making San Antonians aware of how important nature is to the city,” said the former mayor, now president of the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy, a partner with the city in the park’s continued development.”

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We are a private nonprofit that funds publicly accessible urban green space. We believe that everyone needs to “be in nature” as nature both heals and unifies us. The Foundation partners with organizations to create Open Spaces Sacred Places, which increase a sense of community and contribute to a deepening of human connections. These sacred places reawaken and reaffirm the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing.

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