Thoreau’s Experiment



HenryDavid Thoreau has been an American environmentalist. In his book,Walden and Civil Disobedience, he write about the connection betweennature and people. He said in the book that “Our village life wouldstagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows whichsurround it” (248). Also, in his book, he proposes a solution tothe urban communities. He said, “Each town should have a park, orrather a primitive forest, of 500 or a thousand acres, where a stickshould never be cut for fuel, a common possession forever, forinstruction and recreation” (201). Considering Thoreau’srelationship with the environment, cities are really encouraged toutilize its green and brown spaces for the benefit of the citydwellers as well as the environment. This paper aims to discuss waysof incorporating nature to the urban areas along with its advantagesand disadvantages.

Citieshave been often described as lively, crowded, noisy and stressful. Onthe other hand, rural areas are commonly describe as calm andpeaceful. These has been due to the fact that in cities, whereurbanization have occurred, are preoccupied with tons of work. Whatyou can see in the cities are almost purely buildings, people andautomobiles. Urbanization has transformed the lives of the “citypeople” to a busy, stressful everyday life. The heavy workload ofthe city often lead to over fatigue and stress, thus, “city people”usually look for means of unwinding their stressful lifestyles.Unlike in rural areas wherein you can see nature around you, theabsence of these “nature” is the reason behind the lack of peaceand serenity on the cities. Nature usually has this calming feeling.As a result, almost all cities have set up parks around their area –parks with the touch of nature.

Becauseof the sudden trend of urbanization, some rural areas are convertedto urban ones. The agricultural land are transformed to industrialzones. In such cases, the habitat of the animals vanished. Also, withthe decrease of plants in the area, the carbon dioxide emission isuncontained. Thus, pollution is evident. Urbanization had threatenedanimal and plant extinction. The urbanization has also led to lessattention to the importance of nature to the city people. Effortshave been made in preserving the natural environment even in thecity. City efforts have concentrated in making artificial or man-madenatural environment nearby or within the city. But these efforts arestill inadequate. The “green” efforts has been unappreciated bythe city people. But it is claimed that nature parks and these greenspaces has a benefit on the quality of life of the society in thecity. (Anna Chiesura 129)

Asidefrom the fact that these parks helps in the purification of the airand at the same time water in the city, it can also filter the windand noise. Furthermore, these nature parks can also stabilizemicroclimate. It has been also perceived that these natural zonesoffers social and psychological amenities – the important aspectsof the city people lifestyles. The encounter with a natural parkoften believed to reduce stress (qtd in Chiesura 130). In addition,it has been also perceived that it boosts contemplativeness,rejuvenate the city people and the experience in such place offerspeace and tranquility to the people (Kaplan 163). Previous studieshas proved these effects of the natural environments to the urbandwellers. As an example is the study of Ulrich (qtd in Chiesura 130)wherein it was found out that the patients in a hospital who walkaround trees and at the same time can view the nature straight fromtheir windows on the hospital wasobserved to recover faster than those patients who do not. Also,researches have observed that the encounter with such parks reducesstress and aids the mental health. Those who visit the nature parksregularly has been reported to have likely health. The plain view ofwater and plants bring relaxation and stress reduction than areaswith no such scenery (Hartig et al. 15). The capability of the parksto act as “natural tranquilizers” can be seen as beneficial tothe city since there have been too much stress on the city life.

Inaddition to the aesthetics, health and psychological help of thenature parks, its existence in such place also offers socialbenefits. These parks offers increased human interaction and at thesame time the usage of outdoor places. The existence of the grassesand trees in such places is also believed to promote the improvementof social connections. According to Kuo et al. (345) the greenscenery gives the people a sense of relaxation and renewal whichreduces the people’s aggressive tendencies. These areas alsoprovides the city dwellers to have a sense of privacy (to be withnature).

Furthermore,these nature parks can also provide the area with economic benefits.The purification of air by trees, for instance, can reduce the costsof the efforts in reducing pollution. The parks also boosts theattractiveness of a city. Tourists can be enticed to visit suchplaces if found interesting. If these happens, the revenues andemployment in the area could be increased by such opportunity.

Onthe other hand, sometimes, the existence of such nature parks impartsnegative thoughts on the city people. This is because of theinstances of crime and vandalism in such isolated places. But this isnot enough to overshadow the benefits of such parks.

Peopleoften go to nature parks due to sports purposes (e.g. jogging),personal meditation, to appreciate nature, to get inspiration, formeet up, or to unwind. The reason “to unwind” or to “escapefrom the city” has been one of the main reasons of the park goers(Chiesura 133). This reason means that the park is an escape with thenoise, pollution, business and stress of the city.

Asidefrom the existence of nature parks in cities, the planting of treesnear the streets has been also done to reduce pollution in the cityand at the same time improve the aesthetics of the area. Apart fromnature parks, zoos can be also added to such nature parks. Vacantspaces can be encouraged to be planted with any variety of plant toreduce the pollution and at the same time decrease the hottemperature of the area. Also, these plants reduce the risk offlooding and erosion since it absorbs the water from raining.

Therehave been many benefits of incorporating the nature to the cities.Though physical and financial efforts are required to make suchthings happen, the benefits of it is worth the investment. The localgovernments should consider such conveniences for the welfare of thecity goers and dwellers. In such case, the plant and animalextinction will not be threatened. Stress from the city can beprevented and at the same time reduced. Social interaction among thebusy streets and works of the city will be enhanced. Revenues can beincreased if these efforts can entice and attract tourists. Climatechange and global warming is evident and threatening. Thus, theincorporation of the natural environment to the increasing incidencesof urbanization can lessen the future effects of these environmentalproblems. Though the phenomenon have been felt and solutions are notyet at hand, prevention of the increased effects of such phenomenonis helpful for the world, most especially to the future generations.Great efforts are needed but the effects of it is precious andpriceless.


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Hartig,Terry, Gary Evans, and Marlis Mang. &quotRestorative Effects ofNatural Environments Experiences.&quot Environmentand Behavior23 (1991): 3-25. Print.

Kaplan,Rachel, and Stephen Kaplan. Theexperience of nature: a psychological perspective.Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1989. Print.

Kuo,F.e., and W.c. Sullivan. &quotEnvironment and Crime in the InnerCity: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime?.&quot Environment&amp Behavior33.3 (2001): 343-367. Print.

Thoreau,Henry David, and J. Lyndon Shanley. Walden.Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1971. Print.

Thoreau,Henry David, and William John Rossi. &quotWildapples&quot and other natural history essays.Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002. Print.