Forest and the Future
This is the time of the year when forest comes alive. New leaves and needles are formed, gardeners are busy with their pruning of the trees. The fresh green is marvelous to see, touch and smell.
In the world of increasing technological complexity, forest is becoming a sanctuary. Already in Germany there are services offering - as a last bus-top on earth- chance to be buried to forest instead of normal graveyard. A recent study suggested that three out of five Germans would like to be buried in that way.
In Finland, every year there are more and tourists coming in that just want to experience the native forest. In fact, it is one of the very few growing service sectors. Just yesterday evening a Japanese researcher told me that there has emerged an amazing respect in Japan for Finland just because our society has been able to kept the touch with its natural base. Indeed, the numbers show the amount of Japanese tourist has leaped last years, supported by a very convenient air-bridge Finnair is able to offer.
But forest is becoming more important also from the commercial point of view. In the course of last two years, increasing amount of investments have been flowing into new forest-based products: bio-fuels, new fiber-based products, wooden architecture, forest based health products such as berries and juices. Just days ago one of the three Finnish forest giant surprised everybody (except themselves) and announced an over billion euro investment in Finland for building plant that produces bio-energy, pulp and new bio-based products.
Here in Austria, where I happen to be, I have met a owner of a construction company that has built 20 storage office building built with wood materials only. Everywhere in design world, you see a tendency for natural materials as well. Natural seems to be the true luxury.
This is already fascinating, but more is to come: we are turning our faces to Mother Nature in all new (and at the same time very ancient) ways. As there is alarming rate of people who cannot sustain the current pace in the labour market and in life general, resorting to powers of Nature is becoming a quintessential part of survival kit in the modern world. A recipe for health is to have a daily dose of natural environment, be it just a little park or real forest.
In fact, the curative impact of nature has been investigated in the last years and every result seem to point to same direction: forest and nature means health. In Chinese medicinal practice, which is far more advanced in many ways to Western, a doctor may give you a recipe for staying in the forest regularly. We in the West still take mainly pills for anxiety.
In the coming years and decades, new revelations how Nature can help us will appear like mushrooms in the fall, be it novel products,energy, health treatment or you name it. Our science will find new astonishing results of how Nature really works, communicates and supports us. And our inner quest for tranquility and harmony will find ever new ways to spend and communicate with Nature around us.