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Rosie Frost
Newsletter Editor | @RosiecoFrost
This week
For a lot of us, this working week is shorter than normal. I hope you all found the opportunity to go outside and get active after last week’s bombshell of a newsletter.

Inspired by the conversations I recently had with a few of you on Twitter about natural sounds, I spent my few days off walking in the green spaces available to me on the outskirts of London. I absolutely loved the recordings of your own back gardens and parks that some of you sent through after the piece was published. If you’ve seen the article already you’ll probably know that I am a bit obsessed with birds and in particular birdsong.

We’ve heard a lot more of it over the last year, it turns out. Whether that’s because lockdowns led to a drop in human made noise or if it's just because we were paying more attention, I don’t know. Many of you were keen to tell me, however, that time spent in nature hearing these sounds had become a calming influence during the stresses of the last year.

An increasing number of scientists are now studying the links between mental health and nature. The effects ratified by experts so far include: the positive influence of urban nature on mental wellbeing, its effect on our stress and sleep, and even the potential to give us a sense of meaning in our lives.

By 2030, urban areas could be home to two thirds of the world’s population, according to the UN. For those of us that already call these concrete jungles home, our appreciation of the scraps of green space available to us has no doubt grown recently. Throughout history we’ve turned to nature in times of crisis and this year has been no different.

Changing perspectives have led to calls for many governments to look at making green spaces more accessible for everyone. Campaigners in Wales want every home to be within a 4-minute walk of a public green space, plans are afoot to turn Paris’ famed Champs-Élysées avenue into an “extraordinary garden”, the European Commission is championing blue and green infrastructure over the grey.

If this year of crisis has had any silver linings, highlighting the urgent need to make green space more accessible has undoubtedly been one of them.
At a glance
Social exclusive
When you have a minute
Can hearing birdsong help boost our mental health and wellbeing?
With the help of a few of our readers, I took a look at how the sounds of nature have helped to keep us calm in what has been a very stressful year.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again next week! 
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