Category Archives: Education

Healing in the Natural World

by Guy Dauncey

Growing up in southern England and Wales, we always lived close to the woods, streams, and hills of the nearby countryside. The towns were built to be dense and tight, so it was relatively easy to walk out of the buildings and away from traffic into a land of kingfishers, beech trees, and marsh marigolds. It was “smart growth” before anyone had invented the term.

Shinrin

Today, I live in a clearing with a small, organic nursery in a recovering, second-growth forest, just north of Victoria. On a typical winter day, we see ravens, tree frogs, a Cooper’s hawk, hummingbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers, as well as worms, spiders, and a host of smaller birds. And, of course, the forest.

Wood-Air Breathing

In the August 6 2005 issue of New Scientist, Joan Maloof, a biology professor at Salisbury University in Maryland, describes how the Japanese have a word to describe the particular air of a forest. They call it “wood-air bathing.” Maloof writes: “Japanese researchers have discovered that when diabetic patients walk through the forest, their blood sugar drops to healthier levels. Entire symposiums have been held on the benefits of wood-air bathing and walking.”

I’m able to enjoy shinrin-yoku all the time, but for those who live in concrete canyons, amidst a soundscape of car alarms and sirens, instead of the croak of frogs and the wind, it has become a distant experience. Continue reading Healing in the Natural World

Toxic Teachers, Toxic Government or Toxic Chemicals?

teachers2

Half a million schoolchildren are being denied an education in BC. That’s clearly a terrible failure—but what is its cause?

Is it Toxic Teachers?

Some who have not taken the time to study the issue are quick to blame the teachers—but they repeatedly point only to differences over pay and benefits, which are within easy reach of bargaining. Continue reading Toxic Teachers, Toxic Government or Toxic Chemicals?

My “Wouldn’t That Be Amazing!” Wish-List for 2014

And why not? It is that time of the year ….

I have just spent the last two and a half years writing a huge new book into which I have poured all my hopes and fears, and an amazing collection of practical, positive, solutions to our many woes.

The book is titled Journey to the Future, and it tells the story of a four-day visit to Vancouver in 2032, by when it become one of the greenest cities in the world. I have never found writing a book such fun, or so compelling: maybe it’s the fictional format I have adopted, with almost the entire book being in dialogue between the characters. See www.journeytothefuture.ca Continue reading My “Wouldn’t That Be Amazing!” Wish-List for 2014