Seeing Trees Can Make You Feel Healthier


Living in a green neighborhood is good for your health. Trees and other urban plants remove pollutants from the atmosphere, reduce stress, and support better overall mental health. In fact, being around more trees can make you feel as healthy as someone seven years younger, according to a 2015 study in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. 

Psychologists compared data about differences in street tree coverage across Toronto with how healthy people felt, according to a survey called the Ontario Health Study. The long-term study included self-reported data from more than 30,000 individuals, which the researchers used to determine how people perceived their health. 

People who lived in neighborhoods with a higher density of street trees (not just parks) reported feeling healthier than people who lived in areas with fewer trees. In terms of how people viewed their health, living on a block with 10 more trees was the equivalent of earning $10,200 more a year, or being seven years younger. 

While these findings only applied to how people felt about their health, not how healthy they actually were, people living near more street trees also reported fewer cardiac conditions like high cholesterol or heart disease. A 10-tree per block increase across Toronto would only require about a 4 percent more trees total in the city. 

Because Canada has a universal health care system, the same results might not hold true in countries like the U.S., where the private system means that health care access can vary dramatically based on income and place of residence. But all other factors being equal, it appears we have yet another reason to love trees

Denver's Temperature Dropped a Record 64 Degrees In 24 Hours

Leonid Ikan/iStock via Getty Images
Leonid Ikan/iStock via Getty Images

One sure sign summer is over: On Wednesday, residents of Denver, Colorado were experiencing a comfortable 82-degree day. Just before midnight, the temperature dropped to 29 degrees. Between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, the Denver airport recorded a differential of 79 degrees down to 24 degrees. At one point on Wednesday, a staggering 45-degree drop was seen in the span of just three hours.

All told, a one-day span saw a 64-degree change in temperature, from a high of 83 to a low of 19, a record for the state in the month of October and just two degrees shy of matching Denver’s all-time record drop of 66 degrees on January 25, 1872. On that date, the temperature plummeted from 46 degrees to -20 degrees.

Back to 2019: Citizens tried their best to cope with the jarring transition in their environment, to mixed success. On Wednesday, the city’s Washington Park was full of joggers and shorts-wearing outdoor enthusiasts. Thursday, only the most devoted runners were out, bundled up against the frigid weather.

The cold snap also brought with it some freezing drizzle which prompted several vehicular accidents, including 200 reported during Thursday's morning commute. It’s expected to warm up some in the coming days, but residents shouldn't get too comfortable: Melting ice could lead to potholes.

[h/t KRDO]

Invasive Snakehead Fish That Can Breathe on Land Is Roaming Georgia

Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A fish recently found in Georgia has wildlife officials stirred up. In fact, they’re advising anyone who sees a northern snakehead to kill it on sight.

That death sentence might sound extreme, but there’s good reason for it. The northern snakehead, which can survive for brief periods on land and breathe air, is an invasive species in North America. With one specimen found in a privately owned pond in Gwinnett County, the state wants to take swift action to make certain the fish, which is native to East Asia, doesn’t continue to spread. Non-native species can upset local ecosystems by competing with native species for food and habitat.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is advising people who encounter the snakehead—a long, splotchy-brown fish that can reach 3 feet in length—to kill it and freeze it, then report the catch to the agency's fisheries office.

Wildlife authorities believe snakeheads wind up in non-native areas as a result of the aquarium trade or food industry. A snakehead was recently caught in southwestern Pennsylvania. The species has been spotted in 14 states.

[h/t CNN]