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  • Chelsea Hughes

Biophilia: A Love Story

World disasters are not novel in today's news stories. No matter how you define yourself, we as humans mourn parallel when it comes to the global community. Right now, there is a world cry for the fires working their way through the Amazon. We don't yet know the scale of how indigenous plants, animals, or people will be effected. As depressingly as I start this blog, I have uplifting intentions; the disaster in the Amazon is what brings me to write on a topic that Calvert's holds in the highest regard: biophilia. There is a definite romance going on between people and plants which affects us on multiple fronts.


You don't have to be a Latin or Greek whiz to recognize the two roots of this word: bio- meaning life, and philia- love. "Life love", isn't that beautiful?! Biophilia is a hypothesis belonging to E.O. Wilson in his 1984 book by the same title - it's the idea that we seek connection with other living things. Cue Fido nudging your hand for a pat on his head, or Fluffy purring & curling up on your lap. And while we might not be cuddling up with our houseplants (totally cool if that's your thing!), there is a give-and-take relationship between us and our green friends.


A recent renovation of an office park included this built-in planter. So lovely.

Okay, transport yourself back to 4th grade science class... we know plants release oxygen as a bi-product of photosynthesis which we breathe, and we exhale carbon dioxide which is a primary ingredient to start photosynthesis. Major, basic benefits for us both; but plants do more than replenish oxygen; they purify air as well. One of my favorite "old time" stories of Calvert's is when a well-known musician was staying overnight at a historic hotel downtown Oklahoma City. This musician was a smoker with a capital S (lighting his next cigarette with the butt of the one he just smoked). Before his arrival, we worked with the hotel to fill his room with peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.). Sure, it looked lovely, but also after the musician's departure the room didn't smell like an ashtray. Plants and their accompanying soil microbes pull volatile organic compounds (VOC's) from the air and basically eliminate them. Next time you're examining one of your houseplants, notice how dusty it gets... that's from pulling all of those VOC's out of the air! Do your plant a favor and just give it a quick wipe with a wet paper towel or dust it off. NASA actually conducted a study determining the most air-purifying plants... you can read it here: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf




Whether you have plants in your work space or your home, plants have a definite positive influence on your mental and emotional well-being. There are countless studies indicating increased productivity, greater ability to focus, and higher levels of relaxation and decreased stress when a space includes plants in the design. Not to mention the aesthetic benefits of having plants! CNN published an article (linked at the bottom!) earlier this year that really encompasses why plants are really changing the game in design as far as our health is concerned. Oliver Heath, an interior designer, is mentioned in this article (I'm linking his site as well) as he is a major proponent to the biophilic design movement.





Biophilia is why we do what we do at Calvert's. Not only do we want to beautify your space and amplify your design, but we truly believe that interior plants are essential to the physical, mental, and emotional health of our clients. Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment below if you have any questions about biophilia or how we can help you implement this in your home or office. Happy September!!




Graphics courtesy of : https://greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org/news/plants-in-workplace-benefits-of-biophilic-design-infographic/


For more info on biophilia:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/22/intl_business/biophilic-design-healthy-employees/index.html


https://www.oliverheath.com/biophilic-design-connecting-nature-improve-health-well/


https://www.johnmini.com/ideas/plants-and-mental-health-jmdl-explains-how-plants-can-help

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