The Easter long weekend is a good time for bushwalking, camping and hanging out in nature. The weather is often friendly – no longer too hot in all of Australia, but not yet too cold in the south – and thanks to the lunar timing of Easter, there’s always a full or full-ish moon to keep the nights well-lit.
What is there to learn about the science of the natural world? Take a hike with Cosmos.
Feel connected to nature? It might be in your genes
Have you ever wondered why some people turn to wild places for solace, while others shudder at the thought of the untamed? Why some people’s idea of a great weekend away involves pitching a tent in a muddy field full of creepy crawlies, while others think camping is a lesser form of torture?
According to a study published in PLOS Biology, the answer may be at least partially genetic.
Does nature have rights?
In April last year, the Blue Mountains City Council, west of Sydney, became the first council in Australia to enshrine “rights of nature” as a core principle.
It’s a win for the rights of nature movement, which has been gaining pace over the past decade. The movement advocates for natural objects to be afforded “legal personhood”, a concept that upholds an entity’s right to exist and thrive independently of human development.
The mathematics of hill walking
If you’re just out for a stroll, the time and effort required to climb up different slopes might not seem like a numerical thing to you. But hike organisers and emergency planners depend on doing the maths.
A team of US researchers have used material collected by a huge crowdsourced fitness-tracking database to refine calculations regarding the time taken to climb hill slopes of varying degrees of steepness.
Is nature for everyone?
The outdoors has something for everyone, but is nature accessible to all?
Cosmos presents this recording from South Australia’s Nature Festival featuring Ben Trewren (Youth Inc.), Yvie Eglinton (National Parks Access Coordinator for SA Department of Environment and Water), Tricia Curtis (Trees for Life’s Stepping Stone into Nature program), and Harry Spurrier (NeuroHero Foundation).
Watch here, or listen below.
The health benefits of nature in cities
A comprehensive report by the British Ecological Society has synthesised evidence on nature-based solutions for cities – and outlined tangible ways to tap into the multitude of benefits for the climate, biodiversity, quality of life and resulting economic returns.