People often use nature as a little escape from their stressful city life. This is because nature seems to have something relaxing and nurturing about it. Some might feel more clear-headed, happier, or energized while being in nature. This might be because people are relieved from the stress of daily life and work. However, there is another reason we people feel better in nature. Clean air.
In nature, there is a higher level of oxygen and there are fewer pollutants in the air. Being exposed to more oxygen, for example, can improve your brain function and energize your body. Oxygen also triggers your body to release more serotonin (the feel-good hormone). Additionally, with the elimination of the pollutant air of the city, people will feel healthier and get sick less often.
Would it not be amazing if it is possible to accumulate all these benefits into urban life? People should be happier and healthier in everyday life, not just those times when we manage to get away. Thanks to one species this is possible.
More than 400 million years ago, one pioneer created enough oxygen for the more intelligent life forms to develop. This specie was moss. It caused the beginning of everything we now know. Now, half an Eon later, moss has the chance to maintain what it started. By accumulating moss into our environment, it is possible to re-energize people and help them become happier and healthier. Down below are 3 ways that moss can influence urban life.
Moss cleans the air
Cities are constantly growing, becoming home to more and more people, transport, factories, and… pollutants. It has come to a point where air that once would be seen as unbreathable, is now normal. This toxic air is all around, even if it is not easy to see.
The WHO has estimated that each year 7 million people die prematurely because of air pollution. Even when people do not succumb under the unbreathable air, most are still affected in one way or the other. Some, for example, might develop chronic diseases and others will feel a constant lack of energy. However, there is a solution. Moss.
Moss is potentially the most effective natural way to clean the city air. Mosses have a feature that distinguishes itself from other plant-like organisms. Mosses do not have any roots, but make use of rhizoids. With these they anchor themselves to the concrete. This means that mosses must absorb all their water and nutrients from the air, instead of getting it from the soil that their roots would be rooted in. During this process they suck the air in like an air filter, attracting everything that floats around in the atmosphere. Some of these floating particles include air pollutants, such as toxic trace elements and heavy metals. Moss will safely capture them and break them down making the air save to breathe again.
Moss is able to break down the toxic elements because of the bacteria that live between the leaves of the mosses. These bacteria convert the harmful particles into food and energy they use to survive.
Bacteria are also the reason why moss is so great at making oxygen out of carbon dioxide. Like most plants, moss makes use of photosynthesis to feed and energize themselves. During photosynthesis, their small leaves capture water and carbon dioxide and turn them into glucose, on which they feed, and oxygen which they emit. Mosses, however, get more work done on a smaller surface because they get help from the bacteria living inbetween their leaves, who also convert carbon into their own biomass.
Ozon (O3) Values Amsterdam
Poor air quality could lead to airway problems, lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic diseases. This means that when the pollutant air is reduced, the life expectancy of humans will extent. Additionally, people would not just live longer but also healthier.
Moss in the cities will lead to people getting less sick. This is because most viruses travel best when the humidity is low. Luckily, moss is great a regulating the humidity in its environment, keeping it between 40 and 60 percent. This makes it much harder for viruses to spread around and infect big groups of humans.
Moss does not only potentially make people live longer and healthier, but also better. Because of moss, people breathe in a lot more oxygen. This increased exposure to oxygen does wonders. Oxygen stimulates brain activity, leading to better memory, reduced anxiety, and a boost of concentration and alertness. Furthermore, oxygen triggers the release of serotonin and improves the quality of sleep.
Oxygen is able to influence all these factors because the brain uses 20% of all the oxygen intake. This means, when exposed to more oxygen the brain becomes more powerful. Additionally, oxygen affects every other cell in the body, strengthening the immune system, muscles, cardiovascular system, and raising energy levels.
Relaxing our cities
Lastly, moss is also helpful with getting rid of the stressors in the city. Moss, if used in abundance, has the ability to cool down cities. It absorbs warm air, creating a cooling effect. Moreover, using moss works insulating. Moss will keep houses warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Moss also has the solution to another stressor, sound. Moss absorbs sound, rather than bouncing it back into the city like stone walls. The effect is similar to a room with furniture and one without furniture. The first will sound echo-y and loud, the latter will sound ‘normal’ because sounds will not be bounced back. This effect can reduce the noise from cars, construction sites, trams, and loud music played down the street.
To conclude, adding moss facades to the city will result in clean air, a healthy body, and an all-around nicer and more relaxed environment to live in. All thanks to one specie who started this life in the first place. Let’s take care of that life as much as we possibly can.