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How “Forest Floors” in Finland’s Daycares Changed Children’s Immune Systems

by Michael Garfield - Twitter: @michaelgarfield on October 27th, 02020

Once again on the theme of how the technological/cultural pace layer’s accelerating decoupling from the ecological pace layer in which we evolved poses serious risks to the integrity of both the human body and biosphere:

When daycare workers in Finland rolled out a lawn, planted forest undergrowth such as dwarf heather and blueberries, and allowed children to care for crops in planter boxes, the diversity of microbes in the guts and on the skin of young kids appeared healthier in a very short space of time.

Compared to other city kids who play in standard urban daycares with yards of pavement, tile and gravel, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds at these greened-up daycare centres in Finland showed increased T-cells and other important immune markers in their blood within 28 days.

“We also found that the intestinal microbiota of children who received greenery was similar to the intestinal microbiota of children visiting the forest every day,” says environmental scientist Marja Roslund from the University of Helsinki.

Daycares in Finland Built a ‘Forest Floor’, And It Changed Children’s Immune Systems in Science Alert

That said, the hopeful news from this pilot project is that it may be easier to restore a healthy balance between the modern and premodern from within the built environment than most people believe.