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Green Space May Add Years to Life

Originally penned as a letter to the Southbury Voices editor (July 2023)

by SLT Vice-President Tom Crider

To the Editor:

A new study says if you have long-term exposure to greenery where you live, on average you may be adding 2.5 years to your life.

Living near green space causes biological molecular changes that can be detected in our blood, according to the study's lead investigator at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

We already know the benefits of green space in reducing premature mortality. This study explains how green spaces can modify the way genes are expressed.

We already know that being in nature lowers blood pressure and reduces stress hormones like cortisol. In addition, phytoncides, the aromatic organic compounds that trees emit, boost our immune system.

Phytoncides help protect trees from pests and pathogens and when we breathe the forest air, they increase the number of natural killer cells in our body.

No wonder, then, that being in nature can restore our energy and vitality.

So if you live near a town or state park, or land trust property, you can thank it for the health benefits it’s giving you.

Unfortunately, although we have many beautiful parks, forests, and farms in our state, Connecticut lags behind all other New England states when it comes to preserving open land. Even little Rhode Island has conserved 20% of its land compared with our 18%.

Enjoy the preserved green spaces near you and please support continued land conservation efforts.


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