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Living Lab Radio: Our Relationship With The Planet

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Our relationship with the planet can make us healthier and happier — for instance, spending just 15 minutes in nature lowers one's blood pressure.
Elsa Partan/WCAI
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112017.mp3

This week, we're going to look at our relationship with the planet from a few perspectives: what we are doing to the world around us, what nature can do for us, and what we might be able to achieve if we designed human systems to be more like natural systems.

First, NASA has just compiled two decades worth of satellite data and boiled it down into a time-lapse animation that really drives home concepts like deforestation and shrinking ice caps without a single graph. We talk to NASA oceanographer Jeremy Werdell, the PACE Project Scientist.

Next, we speak with Florence Williams, the author of "The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative." She says even 15 minutes of walking in the woods reduces your blood pressure and cortisol stress hormones, and changes your heart rate variability — all things that lead to better health.

Finally, engineers are turning to nature for solutions to our challenges — like energy production, water use, transportation and advanced materials. For example, there’s a way to make concrete using the same method corals build their houses. We talk to Janine Benyus, the founder of the Biomimicry Institute and a leader in nature-inspired design. 

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