#192: The Nature Cure
Hi there, and welcome to the second Thursday of May! My favorite month continues, which means this week’s lead article is filled with hope. Rather than prescribing drugs and assuming surgery, more and more doctors are urging their patients to spend time in nature in order to promote health and treat disease. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather run around the lake or take a stroll through the woods than worry whether I’ve organized my pillbox.
The other three articles are great reads, too, though perhaps scoring lower on the hopefulness scale. You’ll learn it’s pretty much impossible to open a restaurant, it’s pretty much impossible to live in the Bay Area, and it’s pretty much impossible to listen to Jordan Peterson. Please enjoy!
You’ve read all the dismal statistics. As a country, we’re not well. Whether it’s heart disease or obesity or high blood pressure or depression or anxiety or cancer or dementia, we’re ill. And we’re not feeling any better, no matter how many pills we take. But don’t worry, this article is a hopeful one. Many doctors are skipping the traditional approach and prescribing nature instead, and so far, the data is looking good. Preliminary research suggests that going outside — looking at trees, listening to birds, and smelling flowers — activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress, inflammation, and disease. This growing field of ecotherapy is especially popular among pediatricians, like Nooshin Razani, who directs the Center for Nature and Health in Oakland and founded SHINE, a program that connects low-income kids with redwood forests in the East Bay. (Extra points to subscribers who read this article in the woods.) (21 min)
Some men don’t like the idea of toxic masculinity (#111, #157), arguing that political correctness and the “gay agenda” have emasculated “traditional men.” In this article, Omer Aziz tells his story of why and how he became infatuated with the teachings of psychology professor Jordan Peterson. In a time when many young men are feeling a void, Prof. Peterson offers a path (be tough, forge order out of chaos) and a scapegoat (women, feminism). (23 min)
Loyal readers Denise and Jonathan are the proud owners of Stanley (#134) and Wade (#171), respectively. They report that The Highlighter has brought them closer together.
The Price We Pay: How Rising Housing Costs Are Changing The Bay Area
Here’s another great report on housing prices and the general malaise of living in the ultra-expensive Bay Area. You’ll meet families from six zip codes who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage payment. Plus, you’ll engage with a variety of interactive maps, line graphs, photos, and videos, realizing how quickly the region has become uninhabitable. One startling fact: In 2012, 70% of neighborhoods were affordable to families earning $100,000 a year. Now it’s 28%. (20 min)
Starting a Restaurant Was The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done In My Entire Life
I like my job, but sometimes, I dream of opening up a pizza parlor or a bakery that makes scones or a store that sells oranges. Good thing I read this article before hatching my plans. Talented home chef Robert Maxwell provides a behind-the-scenes look at opening The Beech Tree, a restaurant in Toronto. Spoiler: It’s not pretty. (25 min)
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