Five reasons to go green this St. Patrick's Day

Boreal forest by Fort McMurray, AB (Photo by Michel Rapinski)

Boreal forest by Fort McMurray, AB (Photo by Michel Rapinski)

March 17, 2019 | by Raechel Bonomo

More common than a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt on St. Patrick’s Day, the colour green is all around us. Whether it’s the leaves in the trees, on your plate or the scarf of someone sitting across from you on public transit, it’s hard to go a day without seeing green.

Here are five reasons to embrace green, not only for St. Patrick’s Day, but all year.

Physiological benefits

It has been proven that time in nature can help relieve stress, minimize depression and increase one’s overall health. By putting down your smartphone and heading out to connect with nature, you can expose yourself to some much-needed vitamin N.

Even just seeing the colour green can have calming effects. It’s also been shown that people with a green workspace or bedroom have fewer stomachaches than those without.  

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Mallards — male on the left, female on the right. (Photo by Pia Kaukoranta/NCC staff)

Mallards — male on the left, female on the right. (Photo by Pia Kaukoranta/NCC staff)

It helps Canadian landscapes and species

In addition to its mental benefits, connecting with nature is a great way to increase your appreciation for the world around us. Surround yourself with green by planting a garden, caring for plants indoors, learning about the plants around you, going for a hike or simply strolling through a nearby forest or park.  

By thinking green and doing your part for nature, you’re helping to conserve species’ populations and the land they live on. Volunteering or donating to help conservation efforts across the country helps conserve landscapes for future generations of Canadians.

It’s good for you, and it’s tasty too

Eating green is a great way to do your part for the environment — and I’m not just talking about kale. Eating sustainable Canadian produce, meat and grains, especially locally harvested, can reduce your carbon footprint.  

It can help you learn

Research has shown that green can help with learning comprehension. Next time you’re reading new material, try laying a transparent sheet of green paper over the text. Green is said to help you absorb material more efficiently as well as increase reading speed.

It helps power plants and our planet

There once was a time where all plants on earth were comprised of grasses, ferns and horsetails — green plants that used chlorophyll to capture sunlight and turn it into food and energy. All these ancient green plants had cellulose or wood in their cells. Eventually, stems gave rise to wood, to trunks. This gave rise to the first trees and to forests.

Ferns emerging on Clayoquot Island Preserve. (Photo by NCC)

Ferns emerging on Clayoquot Island Preserve. (Photo by NCC)

These oases of green became the lungs of our planet. They became our rain-makers, air-conditioners, water reservoirs, chemical recyclers and keepers of biodiversity. They also became major sinks of carbon dioxide. By literally growing green, these plants formed the infrastructure for life as we know it today.

So this St. Patrick's Day, forget the green-coloured drinks and try going green in a new way.

Raechel Bonomo (Photo by Chase Wastesicoot)

About the Author

Raechel Bonomo is the acting project lead, employee communications, at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Read more about Raechel Bonomo.

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