Originally posted on March 18, 2020 at Good Earth Plants, used with permission and updated on March 20, 2020
Has it only been a week since my last blog post (Let’s Clear the Air)? Since then, schools, stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, and many workplaces have closed down to try and stop the coronavirus pandemic from spreading.
Along with much of the planet now, California residents like me and many other Americans are being asked to shelter in place. We are asked to stay at home except to “provide or receive essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential business or government services.”
For those few clients that allow us, we consider their plants as assets worth protecting and we are watering them. You can pick up groceries and prescriptions, take your dog to the vet, or put your trash out for collection.
Nature is still open
And – you can enjoy outdoor exercise, as long as you comply with social distancing. I see this as an absolute must.
Enjoying a little bit of nature could keep us physically and emotionally healthy enough to get through this current crisis. As we stay separated from our regular activities and each other, we need something to lower our anxieties. You can count on nature in these difficult days. Plus, there are studies that show sunlight and fresh air help us heal much faster.
We’ve been writing about this for many years, and it’s never been more important than today. Scientific research has proven over and over that being outside in nature, or even just having a view of nature, helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve our cardiovascular health. A 2019 study found spending just two hours in nature each week was significantly more likely to produce good overall health and high psychological wellbeing, and it held true no matter your gender, age, or income.
A National Academy of Sciences study showed people who walked for 90 minutes in nature (including parks) weekly have fewer negative thoughts and healthier brain activity than people who walked through urban environments. Wouldn’t you like to get rid of some negative thoughts right now?
Getting outside for a walk is one of the few things we can all do right now and still comply with social distancing. All we have to do is give each other a little more passing room on sidewalks, at parks, and on trails. Wave and keep moving, and you’ll feel a little more connected without risk.
Follow these few Dos and Don’ts to stay safe and keep others safe:
Get outside for sunshine and fresh air
Stay close to home
Find another place if your first choice is too crowded
Maintain six feet of distance from other people
Pack any trash out with you
Check the CDC and your state or county health department for latest restrictions
Sit inside in front of a screen all day
Travel outside your immediate area
Meet in groups
Go to visitor centers or facilities
Use public restrooms
Assume what you heard yesterday is still true today
If you are home with your family, get out and get some fresh air. Most people live close enough to a little open space. It can be a simple neighborhood park, a nice landscaped street, trails around our lakes, or even your own backyard.
Enjoy an accessible green roof with social distancing
The ultimate resource is the one we’ve been supporting for many years: an accessible green roof. It might be tops in social distancing. Enjoying a bigger view of the world after having to limit your contact puts our ultimate goal in perspective: a healthier country, and also a healthier planet.
Take time to look, listen, and observe. Spring is here in the northern hemisphere! Plants are beginning to grow and bloom. Pollinators and birds are in the air. The buzzing and the birds singing will be the best music you will hear all day.
If you’re working at home, get outside for a lunch break. Even if it’s your porch or a chair in the backyard or a balcony or on the driveway. Any view of Nature will do. It will do you good, even if it’s not the Austrian Alps.
Need a walking partner? Find out if an older neighbor could use help walking their dogs. You’ll be doing something good for yourself and someone else.
You can help out nature by setting up a bird feeder. Nectar for hummingbirds and orioles, black oil sunflower seeds for songbirds, peanut butter cakes and suet for woodpeckers, jays, and others. They will provide many hours of entertainment. Many of San Diego’s local garden shops are open limited hours and you’ll be helping the local economy when it’s most needed.
And never underestimate the power of getting outside to pull some weeds. Get your kids to lend a hand. Make it a contest to see who can pull the most. You’ll never appreciate a good reason to be outside more than now.
~ Jim Mumford, CLP, GRP
Jim Mumford, CLP, GRP is Owner/President of Good Earth Plant Company and Resident Horticulturist. Jim, a long time San Diego resident, began his career in 1977 with the opening of Good Earth Plant & Flower Company, a flower “bucket stand” in downtown San Diego.
Four decades later, Mumford is an award winning plantscaper, green roof and living wall designer, a sought after speaker and a recipient of numerous local and national awards. He is a Certified Landscape Professional, Accredited Green Roof Professional, licensed contractor and a nationally recognized plantscaper. Mumford is currently studying the relatively new fields of biomimicry and biophilia.
In March 2008, Mumford launched GreenScaped Buildings, an addition to the Good Earth family of companies, specializing in green roofs, living walls, bio-filtration and rainwater harvesting systems. His headquarters houses a “living laboratory,” testing new growing systems and products from around the world to ensure the success of his clients’ projects in the arid Southern California climate.
Frequently featured as a green building expert by local and national print and broadcast media including CNN and FOX Business, Mumford is also profiled for his entrepreneurial skills. He was named a California “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; one of San Diego’s “Top Influentials” by the San Diego Daily Transcript; and was recently a featured speaker at the TEDx Youth Conference in San Diego in November 2012.
Mumford is widely recognized for his work with the architectural and design communities, and is well known for his innovative leadership in the industry. Mumford contributes his time and shares his knowledge and experience through industry leadership roles. He is a past president and current board member of the Plantscape Industry Alliance (PIA); board member for People for Livable Places (PLP); and is an active member of the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), American Institute of Architects San Diego (AIASD) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Mumford currently serves on the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Sustainability Committee.
Due to his pioneering efforts and leadership role in the plantscaping industry, Jim Mumford brings skill, creativity, and beautiful environments to local and national clients including hospitals, resorts, universities, restaurants, and private homeowners. It’s for all these reasons he was named an “Eco-Warrior” by San Diego Magazine.