10 May 2022
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Trees make us happy

The last 2 years have highlighted how important it is for people to have somewhere green to escape to for a break from the hectic pace of modern life, and the use of parks, nature reserves and other green spaces has increased hugely since the start of 2020.

Parker’s Piece, one of the most popular and well-known parks in Cambridge (Image: Cambridge BID)

In a 2021 survey from the Mental Health Foundation, 73% of UK adults surveyed in said that connecting with nature was important in terms of managing their mental health during the pandemic.

Research has also found that people who are more connected with nature usually feel happier in life, and are more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile.

This isn’t a uniquely British trend either. Urban green space has been linked to happiness in 60 countries worldwide, as evidenced by this global study conducted by researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea.

A recent European study has even found that people who live in tree-lined streets are less likely to be prescribed anti-depressants, and there’s lots of research to show that trees improve our physical health too.

Nature reduces stress

Being around nature makes us feel calmer, because it lowers our blood pressure, slows our heart rate, and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our blood. The oxygen produced by trees also helps clear our heads and press the reset button.

A break outside near trees for as little as 3-4 minutes has been shown to make a difference to stress levels.

They help us at work too

If we can see nature while we’re working, we enjoy work more. Workers who can see nature while working take less sick leave, and have greater job satisfaction, according to a 2020 report by Business in the Community.

  • Employees take fewer sick days – The research showed a 23% decrease in sick leave taken by employees with a view of nature – that’s an average of 11 hours less sick leave per year than employees with no view. This equates to an average annual saving of around £1,600 per employee.
  • Increased productivity – call centre workers with a view of nature handle calls 6-7% faster than those with no view. This generates annual productivity savings of around £2,400 per employee

So for healthy, happy productive staff, employers need to consider the visible environment outside the workplace as well as what’s inside.

creating more green space

84% of people in the UK now live in urban areas, and even though every town and city has its parks and public areas outdoors, 1 in 5 of us is still deprived of access to green space, and it’s vital benefits.

Trees are a home for nature, from the smallest organisms that are invisible to the human eye to the familiar birds and animals that fascinate and amuse us in equal measure – this daily connection to nature is critical for our mental wellbeing.

There are lots of initiatives up and down the country to regenerate disused areas into parks, and rewild land to bring nature closer to where we live. While it may not be possible to do this everywhere, there is scope in most of our towns and cities to plant more trees along our streets.

That’s where we come in!

Trees for Streets helps local communities green their streets by working with local councils across the UK to fund additional street tree planting through public sponsorship.

We also enable businesses of any size to get involved in improving neighbourhoods, and give something back.

Find out more – get in touch today!