Why do people put plants inside buildings? Since the dawn of civilization, humans have gone to great lengths to adorn their man-made structures with plant life of all species and sizes. The easy answer to that question would point to the inherent aesthetic quality of plants. While there’s no discounting the radiance of a rose or the lushness of a living wall, the benefits our green friends provide humankind are more complex than you might think.
For decades, scientists have been exploring the connection between plants and people. Universities on both sides of the Atlantic have conducted studies that have found that by introducing plants into interior spaces, buildings can lower carbon dioxide levels, lower noise levels, clean the air of harmful gases, increase productivity, and even reduce absenteeism.
In 1984, E. O. Wilson published his landmark book, Biophilia, where he introduced his hypothesis that our instinctive affinity for life unites us with all living things. The now-retired biologist, naturalist, and the world’s leading authority on ants, borrowed the term “Biophilia” from Erich Fromm, the German social psychologist, who coined the word to describe “love for humanity and nature.”
Wilson conducted research which involved asking people to describe the characteristics of their ideal location. Time and time again, participants mentioned the natural world when answering the question, often referencing locales looking over landscape features, located in close proximity to water, or scattered across vegetation.
When you bring a live plant into your interior, you are literally breathing new life into the room. We sometimes forget that plants are actual living beings. A recent study produced findings that suggest plants may talk and listen to each other just like humans.
So the next time you stroll into a building and spot a plant, know that the reasons behind it being there go far beyond what simply meets the eye.
Want to learn more about Biophilia? Visit our interactive Biophilia website here.
How do you connect with nature while indoors? Let us know in the comments section below!