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Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  73 reviews
'Beautifully written, movingly told and meticulously researched ... a convincing plea for a wilder, richer world' -- Isabella Tree, author of Wilding Today many of us live indoor lives, disconnected from the natural world as never before. And yet nature remains deeply ingrained in our language, culture and consciousness. For centuries, we have acted on an intuitive sense t ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 26th 2020 by Particular Books (first published February 27th 2020)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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While nature’s positive effect on human mental health is something we know intuitively and can explain anecdotally, Jones was determined to investigate the scientific mechanism behind it. She set out to make an empirical enquiry and discovered plenty of evidence in the scientific literature, but also attests to the personal benefits that nature has for her and explores the spiritual connection that many have found. Looking to the future, Jones emphasizes the necessity of biophilic cities and rob ...more
Riya Joseph Kaithavanathara
"The will of nature, it's strangeness and it's abundance, it's dramatic and adventure is potent."

LOSING EDEN by Lucy Jones, a beautifully written, self help book about nature, how we need to connect with nature and why we need to connect with nature. Since our life now is fully dependent on technology, we are slowly withdrawing from the beauty of our nature and this has affected many people around the world badly, including issues like myopia, obesity, depression, stress etc.

All our problems sol
A lot of people’s disconnect from the natural world is almost complete. They live in cities or heavily built-up suburban areas with little or no interaction with the wider world. Some cities have been removing trees making that connection to a non-human living thing even more remote. Our phones and screens provide us with non-stop notifications following the latest hashtags and rolling news.

This self-declared divorce from the natural world is affecting our psyche and wellbeing but scientific evi
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is compelling, thoughtful and necessary at a time where we continue to take the natural world for granted. Lucy Jones is perhaps a modern day Rachel Carson in the way she explores our inbuilt connection to nature while making extremely interesting and convincing arguments for how we need to reassess the way we treat, interact with and value our natural surroundings. Part biography, detailing her own experiences of becoming a mother and revelling in the calm of nature, she presents hers ...more
Stella Borthwick
a bit repetitive at times but generally a good read, especially for the summer after lockdown - go outside people (if thats safe where you are)!!! the author is also very sensitive to all the reasons many people don't have enough access to nature and the tone was more "our system needs to change" than "people need to change" which i thought was refreshing for a book like this (but also a bit depressing because how the hell do i change the system lol) ...more
Tejaswini J
May 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have always wondered how spending time in the woods instantly relaxes me. If it was just me or did it work like that for everyone. This book cleared all the doubts I had and gave beautiful insights into how the human body reacts to elements of nature with a solid scientific base. Reading about how the author overcame her addiction and depression because nature played a huge role in it is as interesting as it can get! Totally in love with the book!
Fraser Mckay
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant, contemporary, culturally relevant examination of humanity’s relationship with nature, and the impact on our mental health of the destruction of the natural world and interruption of that relationship. Really informative and well-researched alongside being beautifully written and relatable. Jones also provides practical solutions for the problem and left me feeling worried but also optimistic. Ultimately though it affirmed my love of the natural world and reminded me of just ...more
Jul 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
I want to lend this to everyone I know it was just fantastic. Took such a brilliant all-round view at what constitutes an individual’s wellbeing and all the different ways nature can impact it.

Although I can get a bit eye-roll at data and stats being hung on too tightly in nature writing as though the natural world needs to be stratified and placed in boxes, this book mixed qualitative and quantitative evidence with anecdotal examples to a really good balance. All I would have wanted more of is
Liina Bachmann
Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild by Lucy Jones attempts to show us the science behind intuitive knowledge that being in nature is good for us.
If the reader hasn't read any psychology book before this may all be very fascinating, but otherwise it gets a bit repetitive. Fight or flight syndrome, rising cortisol levels with continuous stress, more schizophrenia in dense urban areas, the evolutionary reason why the urban setting is just not right for us - it is all quite well known.
There w
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
Is our modern-day estrangement from the natural world bad for our mental health? That's the question Lucy Jones explores in Losing Eden and, in doing so, visits forest schools, ancient woodlands and a seed vault in Scandinavia's frozen north. Lucy is a friend, so I've known about this book for a couple of years and, as someone with a fascination for neuroscience, I was curious to see how much evidence she could assemble to show a link between mental health and nature. The answer is, a lot.

The bo
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
"It is time for a new story, a new myth, a change of mindset, attitude and behaviour. If we feel it, we must be galvanized by our ecological grief."

One of the best - and I don't doubt one of the most important - books I've read this year. A real eye-opener for many ways in which nature can affect not only our physical but mental wellbeing, and ways in which it is disappearing from our day to day lives. The author's personal story weaves through the text, providing the overarching example of just
Toby Buchan
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Key takeaways and notes:

Today, most people live in cities, spend more time indoors, and have limited exposure to the diverse organisms that make up the natural world. This is resulting in an 'extinction of experience', a term coined by American ecologist and entomologist Robert Pyle. This describes a vicious cycle that links apathy with ecological destruction: the extinction of common species leads to ignorance and a fraying of our connection with the natural world – which leads to lack of care
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 rounded up

Having loved Jones' book on foxes (Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain) - a well researched and compelling insight into a fascinating animal - I was intrigued by her latest offering on why humans benefit from an increased connection with nature.

While I wholeheartedly agree with the author's message and viewpoints regarding the essentiality of nature in our lives there are a lot of studies and facts quoted, which meant the book ended up feeling a bit dry
Connor McFarlane
Jul 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Found this a fascinating read by Lucy Jones. The effort through research and gathering data is present throughout the book in regards to the importance of nature on our mental and physical health. Reading this definitely solidified the importance of nature in my life. Jones’ book offer a compelling call to reconnect with the natural world and for societies in the modern era to co-exist with nature rather than having an extractive relationship. Will definitely re-visit this again!
Ayesha Mirza
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Though there are some very interesting arguments here I was a bit put off by Jones' very self-conscious scientific justifications. I was hoping for a more philosophical and less chemical analysis of the lost symbiosis between nature and the human mind. ...more
Katrine Solvaag
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely this year's must read! Even as someone who's already a bit plant crazy, it has changed a lot of the way I view my relationship with the natural world. It's a desperate call for change, a plea for hope, deserving of response. ...more
Daniella Graham
Jun 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, powerful look at the links between nature and health. Something for everyone here, whether you consider yourself a 'nature lover' or not ...more
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books
This was a fantastic book -well-researched, well-written, full of anecdotes and science. It made me feel like booking a train ticket and get to a nice forest - something which sadly is not possible right now -, and it made me feel a bit more hopeful that we see more and more books published about nature, more evidence that we need to protect the environment for many more reasons than just economic ones, and that there are some political initiatives aimed at doing just that in various places arou ...more
Angharad Morgan
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
I can't emphasise enough what an informative and valuable book this is. I went into it with a very basic understanding and appreciation of the interaction between nature and human health and came out of it with a much greater awareness of the harm that our collective disconnection from nature is causing.

The book is very well written and explores relevant scientific studies and social experiments in a way that makes them accessible - which is exactly what is needed, because the book's message is
Mark Rice
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance reading copy of this book. It's utterly compelling.

Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild should be mandatory reading. It explores why human beings must be exposed to trees, dirt, wilderness and awe in order to be healthy and balanced. This knowledge seems to be deep in the genes. For example, people - even reclusive urban dwellers who rarely go outside - tend to choose nature-based themes for their desktop wallpapers: we're programmed to crave the wild, even if we don't
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
This was a beautiful and thoughtful book about why nature is important to our mental and societal health. The author blends personal memoir, scientific studies and policy options to build an urgency and desire to improve and preserve access to nature. Lovely stuff - now off to find some seeds for my garden and write to my MP!
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was both a great and distressing read for me.

At some points throughout reading this, I started to wonder if my Depression was just impenetrable.
With all the talk on getting out in 'nature,' being good for mental health and being 'uplifting,' I started to doubt many things about my place in this world.

It wasn't just the Depression stuff, but also my place considering physical disability and autism.

It's not just this book alone that has made me question these things, but this book ju
Rita Conde
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
"The Hero myth - the drive to seek safety, control and power over the Earth - that has powered Western capitalism and civilization has gone too far. We have taken too much and set patterns in process that are winding up in disaster. The human desire for things, comforts and luxuries has competed with nature to breaking point. Living to excess must be replaced with living responsibly and sustainably."

I thought I was in for a calm, happy book about the healing power of nature. What I got was a
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was required reading for a work project and I ended up quoting the author and sharing some of the new knowledge in the digital tour created. I do love nature, I do not love gardening or being responsible for plants! This book seeks to answer ‘in what way does our connection from the natural world affect our mental health, our minds, our emotional lives?’
There is a lot to reminisce and enjoy for those growing up in the 70s, particularly in rural areas; stories of eating dirt, spending days pl
Synthia Salomon
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blinkist
I crave nature and miss it when I spend too much time away from it. After reading this book, I’m reminding of why my daily nature walks are important. Now that it’s officially spring, I vow to be outside daily. I also promise myself I’ll take my daughter outside to explore every day. “A lack of connection to nature is harmful because we are all genetically linked to our natural surroundings. Though it’s better for children to develop an appreciation for nature early, it’s never too late to react ...more
Natalia Clarke
Jun 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Although I enjoyed parts of it I found its newspaper-like, monotonous style a little off putting. I was skipping a lot of it, as information presented is well-known. There is a LOT about the children, which did not particularly interest me and, again, I felt, people know this, conscious people anyway.

My favourite part that resonated was about the pear tree outside the window, really echoed my own experience with trees outside my window. I did appreciate the author switching writing styles betwe
Mar 21, 2021 added it
A lack of connection to nature is harmful because we are all genetically linked to our natural surroundings. Though it’s better for children to develop an appreciation for nature early, it’s never too late to reactivate your inherent biophilia. Nature can drastically improve mental, and therefore physical, health; it can thus also improve societal function and close the socioeconomic health gap.

Actionable advice: 

Let yourself experience feelings of awe.

Awe helps us ease our preoccupation with ou
Neil Challis
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this book as I was sent it as a read copy by the publishers.Non Fiction is not normally my thing but the subject matter was of interest being in lockdown.The writing is not particularly easy to read as a lot of scientific language is used by getting to the end I really got it.We are destroying the natural world ,stripping the earth of its greatest resources in order to fuel the growth in our population(that is not the real reason,financial greed is the greatest destroyer). Nature is fant ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finished-in-2020
This was partly a disappointment because it is packaged as nature writing and it's actually a journalistic issues book, quotey and polemical. I find it's a rare one of these that works, Bee Wilson's The Way We Eat Now being a spectacular exception. The ridiculous thing is, I essentially agree with the idea that connection to nature is hugely beneficial to society and nature and am grateful for the studies listed here. But I think there's a big hole in the book around the contribution of the way ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book. I have always enjoyed nature and whenever I have felt stressed or depressed walking in the countryside was a way to alleviate these feelings. I never thought much about it and didn’t really know if others felt the same but this book explores this and explains the science behind it. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone suffering from depression and looking for an alternative to anti depressants, to those who enjoy countryside walks and are interested in the ...more
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