Lessons from Diana: The Forest Bathing Phenomenon


Lessons from Diana: The Forest Bathing Phenomenon


I have introduced screenings of Call of the Forest in Kingston, Ottawa, my library in Merrickville, Victoria and Vancouver this past month. I like to tell the audience some funny stories of the trials of a botanist in the making of this film.

There are two events that seem remarkable to me. At the Bytowne, on the 12th of April, the German Ambassador, His Excellency Werner Wnendt, gave a marvelous talk on international cooperation between countries to put a halt to climate change. He also talked about the preservation of forest cover all over the world. His words were very well received by the audience. The packed house showed their appreciation of an honest man, a rare treasure in the public arena.

Then, there was the forest bathing phenomenon in Vancouver and Victoria. I couldn’t believe my eyes, so many people turned up to forest bathe and take some instruction. Last year I had been invited to write a piece on forest bathing for The New Internationalist, in the April issue. The idea went viral. Of course, there is forest bathing for depression and sadness. There is a bathing to protect the body against many kinds of cancers. There is a form of forest bathing to even increase the IQ ratio in children. The list goes on.

So, here I am with a double chip on my shoulders, one as a botanist and the other as a medical biochemist. And people are fascinated by what both of these disciplines can do to improve their health, as close to home as their local forests.

In the next few days, I will be speaking at the Art Gallery of Ontario, on the evenings of May 12th and 13th, where the film will be shown. More information is available at calloftheforest.ca/screenings/.

I will tell you a secret, now. I will also talk about the frost banana. Did you know that it grew in Toronto, once upon a time? I bet you’ve never tasted one.

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