How Your Kids (And You!) Can Learn And Explore the World For Free While Quarantined

As a frequent traveler, museum-goer, and lover of all things mind-expanding, this quarantine at first glance could feel like doom. Sure, for the most part, we all have to stay home and keep to ourselves.. but at the same time – for the most part, WE GET TO STAY HOME AND KEEP TO OURSELVES!

I know I’m not alone when I see this rather chaotic time as a blessing in disguise. Though the economic repercussions of this pandemic may be another story, the fact that collectively we are getting some time to rest, reflect and re-discover what we truly enjoy in life is actually quite magical.

The news cycles and current scrolling through social media may fail to tell you – keep calm, remember to stay hydrated and keep your health and mental-wellbeing as first priority. It may (or may not) be getting worse, but at the end of the day there are still great things happening on this planet and nice people DO exist (regardless of what you think of the lady who just stole that last supply of TP you were about to grab for yourself).

Now, not all of us may have as much ‘free time’ as others – as many do still have to work from home or even take care of children that they otherwise would take to school. So for those of you who are searching for new ways to keep your kids occupied but don’t want to just throw them into endless and useless feeds of media – I HAVE AN ANSWER!

A lot of companies, businesses, and people have thought about YOU/US and have created FREE digital offerings for these times and I just wanted to spread the love where & how I can by sharing them with you as I find them.

Fundamental Education Based Offerings

Ways to Help Your Child Continue Learning

Scholastic has created a ‘learn at home’ portal offering “Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.”

If YOU are looking for ways to continue learning or seeking to expand your mind

Class Central and Coursera have curated an incredible list of free online courses and classes you can take to dive deeper into your education and explore new heights!

More Art-Inclined Offerings

(This portion of our list was originally posted on Conde Naste Traveler)
Head to the museum

“A number of museums have virtual tours available online—including the Louvre, which offers a tour through its Egyptian antiquities department and the recently restored Galerie d’Apollon, and Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, which has its Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670 exhibit on virtual view. The Vatican Museums offer 360-degree tours of the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms and more, and the Smithsonian also has a self-guided tour (albeit a little clunky) of the National Museum of Natural History in New York.

If you don’t need to see the art in context of a wall, head to Google’s Arts and Culture collections, where works from museums like the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the Tate Modern in London are all on view. It might not be quite the same as seeing the works in person—but the zoom will get you closer to the art than any museum docent ever will. There are also virtual tours of sorts (less freewheeling around the galleries, more history lesson) of places like the Uffizi Galleries available.

Take the kids to the virtual aquarium

The teams at Boston’s New England Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium are bringing the day-to-day life of its residents to the public, offering scheduled Facebook Live–access to feedings, tours, behind-the-scenes looks, and more. So far, we’ve gotten to see Myrtle, the green sea turtle, eat some breakfast (a delicious mix of lettuce, broccoli, and brussels sprouts), and learned all about epaulette sharks and stingrays. (For parents needing some kid-friendly distractions, head to the aquarium’s at-home activities sections.)

Blast some music

Symphonies around the world are streaming live rather than cancelling their performances entirely, or are replaying old shows for free online. The Philharmonie Berlin is closed until April 19, but has opened its digital library of performances, filled with more than 600 shows. Use the code BERLINPHIL by March 31 to get 30-day access to the orchestra’s stunning work (look for performances conducted by Simon Rattle, the orchestra’s principal for 16 years). The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is live-streaming its performances on YouTube, as it is closed to the public until April 13. While the 7 p.m. AEDT (or 4 a.m. EDT) showtimes may not be an ideal time to watch a symphony performance, you can rewatch the show later on the orchestra’s YouTube channel. So far, they’ve hosted performances of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, with plans for more throughout the closure.

Spend a night at the opera

If you’ve gone to a movie theater in recent years, you’ve likely seen a trailer for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, where they throw the storied opera’s most popular performances onto movie screens for all to enjoy. Since most theaters—of both the opera and movie variety—are closed, the Met is opening that series up to all, streaming live each night. Each performance will become available at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be viewable for 20 hours.

If you don’t want to be tied down by a schedule, OperaVision offers free recorded performances from all over the world, including Madama Butterfly from the Royal Swedish Opera and Tosca at the Polish National Opera.” – CTT

More Wordly Explorations

Here is a list of landmarks you can ‘visit’ via virtual tours!

Great Wall of China

Petra Jordan

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Stonehenge

Taj Mahal

Machu Picchu

Athens, Greece

And there are SO MANY MORE! If you find yourself going through all of these, you can always search online for others as it seems so many museums, travel boards, and organizations are following suit!

The Takeaway

Again, I find it important to reiterate that though these are rare times we are being faced with, it is up to us to reveal how we wish to see these unfoldings manifest in our reality. Continue to do your part in being kind to others and yourself, take care of your health and that of those around you by living simply and calmly, and most importantly – remain at peace with what is, and allow what is coming to continue to flow with the knowing that we are doing the best we can with where we are and what we have available to us.

May we take this time to dive deep into ourselves, our bonds, and our creativity to further explore who we are as a people, and who we wish to be as individuals. Now more than ever we are given the opportunity to really expand and evolve. How are you coming out of this pandemic cocoon?

See you on the other side, beautiful butterfly!

Wu-Tang’s RZA Launches Vegan Puffer Jacket Made From Recycled Ocean Plastic

The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, who often speaks out about ethics, has recently launched a limited-edition vegan puffer jacket made with recycled plastic bottles collected from the ocean. The coat features a colorful interior and the hood is emblazoned with the words, ‘Our Heads No Longer Belong to Us’, a line from the Taiwanese film Master of the Flying Guillotine.

“We have the ability through humane ways to fashion garments that not only serve our purpose but also, more importantly, abandon the unnecessary cruelty to animals,” RZA said.

The rapper’s lifestyle company, 36 Chambers partnered with both German contemporary vegan outerwear brand Embassy of Bricks and PETA to make this jacket possible and it is getting a lot of attention as RZA keeps on the press wave. RZA has spent many years helping animals, most recently with an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast where he told the host that “no animal needs to die for me to live.

The Flying Guillotine Puffer Jacket will certainly keep you warm wherever your journey may lead you—and it does so without killing animals or harming the planet.  In the down industry, workers commonly clamp live birds upside down between their knees and rip out handfuls of feathers as the animals struggle and shriek in pain. Birds are often plucked so violently that their skin rips open, leaving them with gaping wounds that workers then sew shut—without giving them any pain relief. Fortunately, today’s high-tech synthetic materials are durable and allergen-free, and unlike down, they still insulate when wet. (PETA)

You can see a bit more of the jacket and his message here:

“As we evolve as a people through technology and ingenuity, we have the ability through humane ways to fashion garments that not only serve our purpose but also, more importantly, abandon the unnecessary cruelty to animals,” RZA said.

“While down items harm animals and the planet, this warm, trendy vegan coat made with 100 percent recycled ocean plastic will help PETA save animals,” added PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “The Flying Guillotine Puffer Jacket is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to wear their heart on their sleeve this winter.”

The Takeaway

Though birds are not human, they still (as do all animals) feel joy, cherish life and experience pain – just like us. As PETA put it, “If an industry profited from your torment and violent death, wouldn’t you want someone to speak up? Together, we can create a better tomorrow.”

This article is not about a jacket, but a movement. A more collective approach to shifting the way we not only produce goods but how we view and consume them as consumers on the day-to-day. Whether it is child or slave labor or the killing animals for our temporary satisfaction or comfort, it’s time we really reflect on what we need versus what has become popular as there are always ways around creating beautiful ‘goods’ that cause no harm to others. Next time you are making a purchase, reflect and ask yourself, ‘is this necessary’ and ‘is there an alternative product/service that is more consciously aligned?’

Game Of Throne’s Sophie Turner Pokes Fun At ‘Influencers’ In Recent Instagram Story

Sophie Turner took to Instagram on Monday, October the 7th to poke fun at (and bring light to) social media influencer marketing. The ‘Game of Thrones‘ star went on her stories and shared a silly but message-driven video while wearing a typical ‘influencer look.’

“Hey you guys, just kind of going for my influencer look today,” Turner said in her Instagram video.

“Today I just wanted to promote this new powdered stuff that you put in your tea, and basically it makes you s**t your brains out,” she said.

“(It) is totally really really bad for me to be promoting to young women and young people everywhere but I don’t really give a f**k because I’m getting paid money for it,” she added with a fake laugh.

She ended the video by throwing up a peace with grey gloved fingers and stating, ‘Influencer life.’

 

Why it matters: The more aware we are of the constant outpour and push of products that are not good for us, the more conscious we can be of said influencer tactics. The truth of the matter is, influencers and celebrities get paid lucratively for helping push (usually) toxic products to the masses. Whether it is the latest powder to get you to lose weight or make-up filled with harmful ingredients – we see it all and most of the time are sold on the idea that they (influencers & celebrities alike) actually use these products to attain their looks or physiques.

Conscious takeaway: It all comes down to being a grounded individual rooted in truth. When we see the latest and greatest craze going around, we should think to ourselves, ‘what is my reason behind wanting this product or lifestyle? Does it serve my highest good, or does it feed my ego?’

With more and more of our reality being curated by those of influence, it is crucial that we become more conscious of what we view, follow or believe, and more importantly why. ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ has become ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians,’ and while we seek the unattainable we must tune in, within, to really understand what it is we are searching for. It is in our moments of deep reflection that we find what we have been looking for is there, within – genuine peace and gratitude for who we are, what we have and how we are naturally becoming all we have ever wished to be – without need for the external or material to create that peace.

That said, we can reflect on step 1 of the CE Protocol, Breaking The Illusion and also step 3 and 4, Deprogramming Limits and Living Aligned. These steps refer to getting clear on how our world truly functions, deprogramming the limits that we accept and believe about how we must act in our world, and then learning to align and tap into our true authentic self and live through this state of being. You can learn more about the protocol here, it’s how we structure all of our CE news and video content on CETV.

KFC Debuted Plant-Based ‘Chicken’ & Sold Out In 5 Hours

Yesterday, KFC debuted its plant-based chicken, Beyond Fried Chicken, at a single Atlanta, Georgia restaurant. This product was developed in partnership with Beyond Meat and could be ordered in two varieties: wings or nuggets.

Why is this news? Well, if you’ve been following the mainstream growth of plant-based diets, you know that this is not the first partnership of its kind. Beyond Meat has hit the market in partnership with A&W, Tim Hortons, Burger King, Subway, and now perhaps due to its popularity – KFC as well.

This event was really a test to see if they (KFC) should expand distribution as part of an official menu addition across the board, and based on the response am sure we will start to see this vegan option availability spread like wildfire.

Below are some captures from customers in Atlanta yesterday:

Despite the rain, reports from social media say the line of cars was more than a mile long and double-looped around the block. Videos show people waiting for an hour or more to get a taste of this new product and support the movement.

The Takeaway

Let’s start with the obvious question, ‘But is it healthy?’ Well, not really, and that’s not really why people go to fast-food restaurants either. The truth of the matter is, for something to be truly healthy it would have to be holistic in its entirety, meaning that it would be a whole-food, unprocessed. This is why health proponents are focusing on ‘whole food plant-based diets’ not just plant-based diets.

Regardless of diet preference, it is nice to see people opening up to the idea that we do not need to consume animals to indulge every now and then. With more and more companies and establishments seeing the demand for plant-based items, we are now seeing more options at our local restaurants, fast-food chains, and grocery stores offering similar products to those we grew up on with like taste and texture – without the need for an animal to die for us to enjoy the meal.

On top of that, it requires 99% less water, 93% less land, and 90%  fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and 46% less energy to make Beyond Meat products when compared to a beef product.

So the key is, this is not meant to replace every meal, nor is it really a health food, but it is a replacement for people that are looking to venture into changing their diet. The key for people moving forward is, helping to next open up culture to ‘whole food plant-based diets’ as moves like this open people’s minds a bit.

Your Phone Can Actually Help You Appreciate Nature

In all honesty, I am one of the many people out here still occasionally scrolling endlessly (and at times aimlessly) through social media, and then the next thing I know the day has flown by. But that’s the thing – it isn’t the phone nor platforms’ fault for creating such addicting experiences, but more so how we practice our self-control and hold ourselves accountable throughout our day-to-day that we should reflect on.

I’ve recently moved into the middle of nature and told myself that I would ‘disconnect’ more often.  With that said, when I find apps that actually HELP with that disconnect – from social media, nonstop messaging service providers, and endless feeds – I always seem to download and give it a shot. That’s what happened when I found out about iNaturalist, as I was looking for a way to further educate myself on the various plant species and fauna around my new home.

 Designed with data collection in mind, iNaturalist acts like a pocket repository for all things wildlife. Users snap photos of flora and fauna and then upload it to the app. Fellow citizen and professional scientists can then chime in on the ID, helping make the data research-grade worthy. But like most citizen science efforts, iNaturalist requires broad participation. – UC Davis College of Biological Studies

Essentially you are able to help researchers and scientists see more of the world through your own eyes, which I found pretty neat! I walked around my yard just snapping photos, some of which had already been catalogued and categorized and therefore I was able to find out what I have in my own yard within seconds of taking the photo.

If you’re seeking different ways to utilize your online time, this is one sure way to both learn and help others explore our planet.

The Takeaway

You may have read this title and thought this sounds too good to be true, but the reality is that although we have been hearing otherwise consistently as of late – devices are not the problem – our dependency on them is. So as we place the blame on phones, computers, video games, etc. we must learn to take accountability and learn that self-control and responsible usage of our devices are key. As we break free of the social norm and start to live our lives more in the present, bringing our attention more in tune with our surroundings, our breath, etc. it is really nice to have the ability to further connect by learning more about nature. There are many apps we have at our fingertips that can help us connect more with nature and they’re just there waiting for us to explore. That’s where the app iNaturalist comes in, so what are you waiting for? Go out and see what’s around you!

Female Sorcerer’s Fascinating Arsenal of Charms Discovered In Pompeii

My initial reaction to this story was, ‘WOAH. I love and have to share this!’

As someone who has gone on a very specific path in life, my journey has been filled with tools much like these. I am forever fascinated by all things magic (you can tune into my interview with Collective Evolution The Magic Within on CETV to understand this even further if you wish) and when news like this pops into my frequency, it solely reaffirms that there are so many of us out here and that energetic practices are, of course, nothing new.

On August 12th archaeologists in Pompeii discovered an array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms thought by researchers to have belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.

More than 100 miniature objects were found in a wooden crate which had all but decomposed except for its bronze hinges. The findings include miniature dolls, phallic amulets, necklace beads, and a tiny skull among other objects made of bone, bronze, glass, and amber. The researchers have come to the hypothesis that they were likely used for adornment or protection by a woman in the years before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, which later buried the city and its population in volcanic ash.

“They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories and biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption,” said Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, in a statement.

See items from the treasure trove below.

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

“The objects… were found at the Casa del Giardino, the same area where an inscription was recently uncovered that made historians change the date of when they think the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii took place, shifting it from August 24 to October 24 79 AD.” – ANSA

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

At this very location, the researchers also discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims, which included women and children. Archaeologists will use DNA analysis to determine if the victims were related. “Perhaps the precious box belonged to one of these victims,” Osanna suggested. “The iconography of the objects and amulets invoke fortune, fertility, and protection against bad luck,” Osanna said. He has suggested to the Italian news agency Ansa that it could have been a “sorcerer’s treasure trove.”

Since there was no gold found in the trove, it is likely these objects belonged to a servant or a slave, rather than the owner of the house, Osanna told Ansa.

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

 

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

The jewelry will go on display soon at Pompeii’s Palestra Grande in an exhibition set to be a follow-up to its recently closed show on Roman jewelry called “Vanity.”

The Takeaway

Though the past potential usage for these items is stressed to be simply a hypothesis at this time, it is incredible to simply see and imagine the time they existed in through these images.

As humans in a material, physical, 3D world, we ourselves are continuously building our own treasure troves in a way. Every piece of jewelry or product we purchase, find, or create flows its way into our homes, cars, pockets, backpacks, etc. and in the end shall remain and live on well beyond us to share a glimpse into our story. What would you like to leave behind? A trunk filled with magical amulets, or a legendary story (or both)?

Though it is nearly impossible to always be thinking of this when adding more ‘stuff’ into our lives, I do believe it serves as a good reflection point that these things are simply that – things – and that the real magic lies within each and every one of us. Remember that the energy and intentions that we at times give to others, things, or tools, is always coming from & through US.

Now, this is not to say that treasures themselves can not be treasured. If you just so happen to love the look, feel, and energy that they give off or wish to utilize these physical objects as an extension of yourself, by all means (and I get it – I’m with you!). As a final note, however, from a real-life gem collector to the hearts of all of you,  know that the answer, the love, the magic IS YOU.

CETV

If you would like to dive into more magical content, please check out our free trial to CETV where you can find more stories and content like this on Waking Realm, a show hosted by me, Dulce Ruby!?

Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply

The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’

One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.

Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.

In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI

Horses were more wary of people they previously saw in a photo with an angry expression on their face. Photo by University of Portsmouth/University of Sussex

UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.

“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”

Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”

This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.

The Takeaway

With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.

The First & Only No-Kill State For Shelter Animals In The US Has Been Declared

Sound the alarm! Happy news to share with you all today… Amid all of the perceived chaos that is taking over our screens and mainstream media, it’s always important to touch base on the good news that occurs. This week, Delaware has become the first official no-kill state for shelter animals, and I couldn’t be happier to hear and share this.

As not only a pet lover myself, but a cat-mom of 3 amazing shelter animals as well, I know and have seen the various traumas that can result from either life before being placed into a shelter or during their time there due to anxiety, etc. — and it doesn’t stop there. We’ve all heard the stories, and though I had yet to dive into the details myself personally due to not having the heart for it, it is a fact that some shelters rid themselves of ‘unwanted pets’ every cycle as the shelter seeks more room for new-coming potentials.

A volunteer cradles three rescued kittens.

Photo courtesy of Brandywine Valley SPCA

With that said, this is very BIG news — not only has Delaware taken on the task to reevaluate how its shelters are run and deal with overcrowding, but Delaware has also taken initiative in the ‘no-kill’ movement.

A Best Friends Animal Society volunteer hugs a rescue dog.

Photo courtesy of Brandywine Valley SPCA — The work of staff and volunteers at rescue organizations across the country and public support have already helped drastically reduce the number of pets dying each year in shelters from an estimated 17 million in the 1980s to now around 733,000 dogs and cats. Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

The nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society, which is working with shelters, animal welfare organizations and government agencies across the country to make America a no-kill country by 2025, announced the news at their annual conference in Dallas, Texas.

Linda Torelli, director of marketing for the Brandywine Valley SPCA, which has three locations in Delaware and cares for more than 14,000 animals each year, credited a multipronged approach with helping the First State achieve no-kill status — and its citizens.

“The community in Delaware is very oriented to pet advocacy, so we had their support,” she told TODAY.

Brandywine Valley SPCA implemented numerous programs so that 95% of animals that enter the open-admission shelter find homes. Torelli said because cats are euthanized at twice the rate of dogs, the nonprofit instituted the practice called trap, neuter and return, aka TNR, to save the lives of feral or “community” cats that would otherwise be euthanized. In TNR, advocates humanely trap the felines, and veterinarians spay or neuter them before they are released back into the community.

Open adoptions — which don’t require time-intensive applications that involve things like home inspections but instead focus on matching a pet with a potential adopter’s lifestyle — help move animals more quickly through the shelters. – As reported by TODAY

The Takeaway

We all either know someone or are that someone who has gone to a shelter and adopted their best friend at some point. And while we all aim to do our part, it’s a HUGE step to know that shelters themselves are now also taking initiative so that there is ‘no pet left behind’ if you will.

So many wonderful pets, companions, and memories are birthed thanks to adoption and it is beautiful to see that more intention is being set on creating a community that is aware of a movement to aid in eliminating the need to kill for the lack of insufficient adoptees. As a personal thank you to all of you who have or will adopt and welcome a new friend into your lives & homes – a reminder to remember you are saving a life when doing so. So, THANK YOU! And thank you, Delaware, for being the shift!

This Futuristic Hospital Has Introduced Nature As Medicine

Lush garden views and natural landscapes aren’t usually the first thing you envision when you think of hospitals, but Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore is changing all of that.

When it comes to reenvisioning healthcare and the mental state of those who are admitted, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is really advancing how we care for those who have fallen ill. Whether it is due to lack of prior proper care, one’s diet & lifestyle, or a stagnancy to one’s energy creating blockages — and in turn illness — it is important that we look at this field and industry (medical/healthcare) as one of the most crucial for shifting humanity.

The Green Treatment

As MindBodyGreen reports, “In 2005, CPG Corporate, a Singapore-based design firm, was tasked with creating a hospital that actually lowered visitors’ blood pressure. ‘How do we challenge the idea of a hospital to deinstitutionalize it and make it look, smell, and feel, unlike a hospital?’ Jerry Ong Chin-Po, an architect who worked on the project, told mbg of the initial challenge. ‘We felt the best way to do it was to integrate nature into the space.’”

The hospital, which opened its doors in 2010 and now serves 800,000 residents in northern Singapore, has masked the smell of medicine and chemicals with over 700 species of fragrant native plants. In the lobby, sounds of machines are drowned out by bird species in the central courtyard. And instead of walking through sterile white hallways, patients, caretakers, and the occasional butterfly navigate the space on outdoor bridges wrapped in greenery.

In Singapore, medical buildings have multiple tiers of patient rooms (it’s part of how the country maintains its famously cheap health care). Some are private and have air conditioning; others have up to five beds and rely on natural ventilation. In order to ensure that all patients feel comfortable—regardless of how much they’re paying to be there—Chin-Po’s team again leaned on nature. They installed new windows that could be opened wider to allow for more airflow and made sure that every patient could see greenery from their bed, even if it was just a planter box on the other side of their window.

At mealtimes, patients are given organic food grown in a massive rooftop garden, and everyone fills their plates with fruits and veggies on the weekly, hospital-wide Meatless Mondays. ‘We always bring this idea of creating a total healing environment,’ Chin-Po says. ‘Not just for the patients but for the caregivers and staff as well. It’s all part of the whole system.’

This is the healing power of nature and community. 

Image by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

Image by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

And so the next question is, with all of the greenery, community and natural light, are patients healing more rapidly at this futuristic hospital? Well, it is reported that while there is still not sufficient evidence to back this claim, Chin-Po says that anecdotally, patients seem to appreciate the hospital’s unique design and are actually willing to pay more to go there than other hospitals in the area.

And, though it’s not extensive, there is a body of research showing that greenery and natural light do aid in recovery. One 2008 study found that patients who had plants in their rooms had lower blood pressure and reported less pain, anxiety, and fatigue than patients who didn’t. Another one back from 1984 concluded that hospital rooms that had windows overlooking nature helped patients recover from surgery quicker than ones that faced brick walls. Outside of a clinical setting, spending time around nature has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stress.

The Takeaway

As more of those around us seem to fall ill, it is important to look at alternative ways of healing. Whether it is holistic, alternative, or simply nature itself, it is steps like this hospital is taking that are really going to create the shift we need as a collective. We are lovers of the outdoors by nature, and though our current society and system seem to have us forgetting to step outside and ground, it is key to our longevity on this planet.

From the Sun itself being our best source of vitamin D to the very oxygen we breathe being gifted to us through trees, we owe a lot to nature.

Remember, sick or not, it is in our best interest to take time out in nature to nurture both our Soul & our bodies. This hospital is just the beginning of a great remembrance back to real self care.