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Man likes to think he rules the world. Often it’s pitted as man vs. nature, as if we humans are the ones who have to conquer and change Mother Nature to our liking, rather than living in harmony with it. But the scientific truth of the matter is that this relationship is a two-way street, as Mother Nature has just as much of an effect on us. The more research that’s done, the more is revealed just how complex the effects of our interactions are. So prepare to be fascinated as we share with you some of the coolest effects that come about when man meets nature, and, vice versa.
Warmer Climates Cause Violence
Do you live near the equator, in a climate warmer than everyone else on the planet? If so, perhaps a couple of self-defense courses might be of interest to you as studies have shown that the rates of violent crimes are higher in warmer climates. But why?
Light Pollution & Early Spring
Over the past couple of years, a lot has been written about light pollution – which is essentially too much artificial light emitted from urban areas. And one of the more disruptive effects of too much light to our ecosystem is that over time, the bright lights from big cities start to trick the surrounding plants and trees into thinking spring has arrived earlier than it used to.
Cigarette Butts Harm Marine Life
Of the multi-billions of cigarettes that are produced each year, only a small fraction is disposed of properly – the rest, which is a disturbingly high amount, end up in the ocean. As a matter of fact, the ocean’s most common kind of trash is cigarette butts. These butts are extremely hazardous to fish as they contain tiny plastic particles made up of poisonous materials, that when put in just 1 liter of water, can kill any fish swimming near it.
Humans Evolve New Species
Did you know that during the 2nd World War, the devastation and structural changes to the environment created a brand new species of mosquito? Yes, as soldiers buried large tunnels underground, mosquitoes adapted by evolving to these new structures, which in turn produced a brand new species of mosquito called underground mosquitoes that are unable to breed with other types of mosquitoes, thus, the new species designation.
Nature Improves Mental Health
In two separate studies – one out of the University of Essex and the other, out of the University of Southern California – both observed that there’s a significant drop in depression scores (up to 45%) when participants were required to take short nature walks. These results were independent of the participant’s age, race, education, or level of income.
Climate Change & Vegetation
We all know that global warming is perhaps the most pressing and planet threatening issue we face today. Interestingly though, science has observed an auxiliary effect to the receding and disappearing ice … more greenery is taking its place.
Greener Areas Equal Less Illness
In a study performed out of the University of Glasgow, researchers wanted to see what the effects of nature had on the poor. Excluding those with circulatory disease or lung cancer, the study aimed to determine whether income-based health inequality (the inability to afford proper health care) is less of an issue in the poor that live closer to nature away from urban areas.
Bigger Babies Are Born In Nature
So here’s some big news for mother’s living in and around nature that are expecting: expect a bigger baby. According to a 2014 study out of Ben-Gurion University, mothers tended to produce larger than average offspring when living in greener areas. The study also found that smaller than average babies were a result of those who lived in economically deprived areas with the least amount of plants and trees.
Roads Positively Impact Nature
Huh? Roads have a positive impact on nature? Yes, you read right as a 2013 analysis conducted by the University of Cambridge suggested that roads do in fact have a positive impact on the environment as they draw inhabitants closer to them, thus, away from denser wilderness areas. This counterintuitive effect helps preserve many an animal and plant species that would otherwise be destroyed if human beings just set up shop anywhere and everywhere – especially considering our global population size.
Some Animals Adapt To Humans
Don’t feel to bad for that pigeon, crow, or pelican perched above that building rooftop in the heart of a busy city. He’s likely to be quite happy there as he, along with many other species of animals (like Squirrels, rats, mice) have been forced to adapt since our population explosion because of the Industrial Revolution.