In 2017, Florence Williams wrote an outstanding book called The Nature Fix. It’s the best collection I’ve read about the science behind the restorative effects of nature. (It’s akin to Richard Louv’s The Nature Principle but more focused solely on the science.) Williams traveled the globe from Japan to Utah to Scotland in an effort to answer the question of exactly why spending time in nature is so healing for us.
What makes the book my favorite is Williams, a journalist, brings a neutral but skeptical eye to the process. She interviews a multitude of scientists, researchers, and therapeutic program directors, sometimes immersing herself in their current studies and retreats, to learn about the latest findings. Then, in a friendly but unsentimental voice, she easily translates those findings into simple, digestible information for the reader.
Reporting With a Personal Touch
She also mixes in a touch of her personal history and experiences too. She examines why she always felt happier in Boulder, Colorado rather than Washington, D.C. (hint, it has to do with the availability of natural landscapes). And we hear the story of her father being hit by a car to illustrate the positive effects of hospitalized patients looking out a window at nature during recovery. It’s a perfect mix of personal stories that reflect the broader issues.
If you’re curious about what exactly the latest research is on the restorative effects of nature, check out this book. It’s an engaging, fascinating read. And seeing how researchers are still conducting and publishing studies, I hope Williams will write a second edition or follow up soon.