In the early 1980s, a Chalmers University of Technology research report concluded that–of 46 patients surveyed at a suburban Pennsylvania hospital—those who stayed in rooms with scenic natural views experienced shorter hospital stays, received more positive nurse evaluations, and needed fewer analgesics.

For this reason and many others, it is time to reintroduce more natural elements into all building designs.

To this end, a nature category is being proposed for inclusion in the proposed new Green Star Design and As-Built rating tool. But far more needs to be done.

As we strive to achieve cleaner air and water and workable solutions to the climate crisis, we also need to bring nature back to the big city.

Studies show that kids who live and play around street trees suffer from fewer allergies. Kids who play on biodiverse schoolgrounds have improved learning outcomes. And those who live near green space get more exercise. And, of course, improved care of our natural surroundings will slow the effects of climate change—and promote the healthy growth of flowers and trees that happen to thrive in the city scene!

It’s time to introduce our children—and reintroduce ourselves—to nature. Show and tell the beauty of nature to your kids, and relay to them facts regarding Australia’s indigenous history and culture.

Educate yourself as well. Learn more about how you can improve air quality, deal with stormwater runoff, plant street trees, run greener homes and businesses. Push for the opening of more city parks, gardens and retreats, and help to clean and maintain those that already exist. Participate in community cleanups, and keep your own property litter free and filled with flowers and trees. Attend meetings of your state and local councils, to ensure that your home community is as biodiverse and sustainable as possible.

Green your neighbourhood. Sustain your environment. Save your planet—and your family.