By Scott Ramsey
Every once in a while, a book will come along that seamlessly articulates complex concepts and makes sense of involved notions in a way that simultaneously seems to reaffirm and expand our understanding. Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do (2014) is such a book. Insights from this influential, research-based book go well-beyond the confines of the page, inspiring an educational movement with a message that purposefully includes the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual health benefits of aquatic environments. Blue Mind, by marine biologist and California Academy of Sciences research associate Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, offers readers important strategies for dealing with the emotional challenges associated with climate change as well as suggests important insights into climate advocacy.
Our Blue Mind
In an effort to explain the particular uniqueness of the human water connection and to focus research efforts that support the science behind our emotional attachment to water, Nichols (2014) developed the concept of Blue Mind, which he defines as “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” (p. 6). The general premise of Blue Mind centers on the recognition that although nature, in general, has the capacity to make us happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what we do, water has specific traits that make it a special influence on our overall wellness (Nichols, 2014). Nichols (2014) stated, “Water’s amazing influence does not mean that it displaces other concerted efforts to reach a mindful state; rather, it adds to, enhances, and expands” (p. 7).
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The Journal of Sustainability Education (JSE) serves as a forum for academics and practitioners to share, critique, and promote research, practices, and initiatives that foster the integration of economic, ecological, and social-cultural dimensions of sustainability within formal and non-formal educational contexts.
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