More trees, please!

A few weeks ago, I attended the Presidential Address at the Institute of Mathematics and it’s Applications (IMA). Using this, the IMA President Chris Linton argued the need for bridging the distinctions between “Pure” and “Applied” mathematics. Without giving too many spoilers, he also put the case that the “success path” for people at university is often seen as further academic study, eventually leading to professorship. Progressing into being a teacher, actuary, or any other job is culturally, perhaps, seen as a failure. In summary, I took Chris’ Address as a call for action: for changing the culture of success in mathematics to being more balanced across academic, industrial, educational, and other options. If you’re interested in mathematics, I would recommend going to one of the branch meetings where Chris will be repeating this talk.

It is this same belief that led me to start full time working on Fuza a little over 3 months ago. You can see an example of maths applied to industry in this post. Indeed perhaps more broadly, I believe we should be using the science we already know:

British greenery: Sunshine not often included (Letchworth Garden City)
  • It has been shown recently that 30 minutes of visits of green spaces reduces instances of depression and high blood pressure [source].
  • In another study, countryside walks were associated with reduced rumination (associated again with depression). [source]
  • There is a weight of science supporting the benefits of urban trees [source]

To me, it seems logical and worthwhile that some city should conduct a practical experiment to see if we could reduce depression, perhaps by simply planting some trees. It seems sensible to conduct a small trial, in order to get some fast feedback. The alternative to a local trial is either to do nothing, or wait for a central government policy to implement it everywhere.

In my town of Letchworth Garden City (UK), we are lucky to have a heritage foundation who do lots of good work, for example converting one of our 100-year-old houses into an eco-home [source]. Experiments do happen, but I would love to see more.

More countryside (Bristol – you can see the suspension bridge in the distance)

As a society we are, according to me at least, not implementing enough of these experiments. I have written this blog in an attempt to inspire some of my local decision makers to try more things for the benefit of their fellow citizens.

This is of course just one piece of science that I think it would be interesting to implement. Perhaps there are things you care about that we should be experimenting/implementing within our communities or businesses. I hope we can all do our bit to help get science used in reality. In the meantime, perhaps I will go out for a countryside walk.


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