February 2, 2020
“Major roads and highways.”
Whenever I hear the words “major roads” and “highways,” I immediately imagine stressed out people with angry faces fueling a cacophony of hate while inhaling mystery fumes.
Turns out that living near such scenery can be bad for people’s health.
Numerous studies have found an association between living close to nature and improved mental health. Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a recent set of research conducted at the University of British Columbia finds that living near major roads or highways can raise one’s risk of developing various neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia in general, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
Data on over 678,000 adults living in the metropolitan Vancouver area was assessed for the study, and researchers concluded that living less than 164 feet from a major road or living less than 492 feet from a highway is linked to a noticeably higher risk of developing the aforementioned conditions. While the study’s authors can’t say with 100% certainty, air pollution caused by passing cars is almost certainly the cause of these findings.
Meanwhile, the study also found additional evidence that living near some greenery, such as a park, can actively protect against neurological problems.
She tried to warn you.
She literally stepped up to warn you.
But you didn’t listen.
Cars are tools of global warming, and it is only logical that they’d first warm the places in which they’re the most used — like roads and highways. This location-specific warming is then responsible for warming the brains of the people living in the affected locations, which results in neurological diseases.
It is basic, settled climate science.
“For the first time, we have confirmed a link between air pollution and traffic proximity with a higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and MS at the population level,” says Weiran Yuchi, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate in the UBC school of population and public health, in a release. “The good news is that green spaces appear to have some protective effects in reducing the risk of developing one or more of these disorders. More research is needed, but our findings do suggest that urban planning efforts to increase accessibility to green spaces and to reduce motor vehicle traffic would be beneficial for neurological health.”
“For people who are exposed to a higher level of green space, they are more likely to be physically active and may also have more social interactions,” comments Michael Brauer, the study’s senior author and professor in the UBC school of population and public health. “There may even be benefits from just the visual aspects of vegetation.”
The fact that cities still have parks and at least some trees sprinkled on their mortuary grey suggests that proximity to green spaces is also necessary for humans on a psychological level.
Life and Death
The popularity of houseplants and other types of green decorations also supports this claim.
Everyone likes The Shire.
So why are we doing this to ourselves?