Chances are you’ve been spending a lot of time at home since March, and it’s starting to feel a little claustrophobic. But if you think about it … were you actually going outside all that much before the pandemic? Emily Anthes is the author of The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health and Happiness, and she notes that even before the pandemic hit, we humans spent about 90 percent of our time indoors on average — however we think of ourselves, people are in fact largely an indoor species.
Anthes looks at all of the ways our indoor spaces impact our health, and observes that there is so much we don’t really know about the places we spend a majority of our lives. There are literally thousands of bacteria and microbes in our homes that are in large part still mysterious. “We spend so much time in these places, we don’t think about them as exotic or interesting,” says Anthes, “If you’re an ecologist, you want to go to the Amazon or Antarctica … and maybe you’re not that interested in the ecosystems that are in our homes. So there’s all this complexity we’re just scratching the surface of.”
In this episode, Anthes takes us on a journey into buildings and uncovers the hidden ways that they shape our lives. She uncovers the incredibly unique microbes that inhabit your dishwasher and explains how even a plastic plant in your room can dramatically improve stress and pain. Today, as we head into a winter lockdown, we dive into how sunlight, and ventilation (plus the tiny creepy crawly things in our homes) can influence our health and wellbeing, and how we can use design to make our indoor spaces so much better.
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