In Losing Eden, Lucy Jones explores why human beings have a powerful, fundamental need—mental, spiritual and physical—for the natural world. She explores the profound impact this has on our consciousness and shows how nature has the ability to heal the soul and bring solace to the heart. And she reveals as well the newest, cutting-edge scientific evidence that proves nature as nurturer.
Jones interweaves her deeply personal story of recovery from addiction and depression with that of discovering the natural world and how this aided and enlivened her progress, giving her a renewed sense of belonging and purpose. She writes of how she came to see—stumbled upon—the need for the natural world in the same way that she needed drugs and alcohol.
In reconnecting with nature, Jones realized that she never felt lonely or alone in the world outdoors, that there she belonged to the broader community of species and beings and to the complex matrix of life itself. She writes of how she became aware that the essence of nature—the geometry of it, the repeating patterns of shapes of ferns, seashells, lightning, salt flats, snowflakes, ocean waves and clouds, all varying with scale, as well as the scents, sounds, colors and textures of the wild—has life-changing powers, and that natural shapes affect the human brain.
Jones examines the intersection of science, wellness and the environment, and she reveals that in the last decade scientists had begun to formulate theories of why people feel better after a walk in the woods or an experience with the natural world. She describes the recent data that supports evidence of biological and neurological responses to nature: the lowering of cortisol that is released in response to stress, the boost in cortical attention control that helps us concentrate and subdues mental fatigue and the increase in activity in the parasympathetic nervous system that slows the heart and allows the body to rest.
Weaving memoir, scientific investigation, interviews and history into a broad-ranging ecological portrait, Jones illuminates what makes nature so potent and why—and what all of this means for us and for our future.
About the Author
LUCY JONES was born in Cambridge, England, and educated at University College London. She has written extensively on culture, science and nature. Her articles have been published on BBC Earth and in The Sunday Times, The Guardian and the New Statesman. Her first book, Foxes Unearthed, received the Society of Authors’ Roger Deakin Award. Jones lives in Hampshire, England.
“Beautifully written, movingly told and meticulously researched. An elegy to the healing power of nature, something we need more than ever in our anxiety-ridden world of ecological loss. A convincing plea for a wilder, richer world.” —Isabella Tree, author of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm
“A passionate and thorough exploration of the growing scientific evidence showing why humans require other species to stay well.” —The Guardian
“A heartfelt love letter to the outdoors.” —The Daily Mail
“Compelling . . . The book is not really a memoir; it’s about all of us.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“Wonderfully intoxicating. In meticulous detail, Jones quests to bring us an impressive array of answers to the question of whether ‘nature connection’ has a tangible effect on our minds, and how and why it does.” —The Irish Times
“Fascinating . . . Written in such lush, vivid prose that reading it—especially while marooned in a big city under lockdown—one can feel transported and restored.” —New Statesman
“Jones unpicks the science in accessible, moving writing . . . Beautifully written.” —The Observer, Book of the Day
“Fascinating. The connection between mental health and the natural world turns out to be strong and deep—which is good news in that it offers those feeling soul-sick the possibility that falling in love with the world around them might be remarkably helpful.” —Bill McKibben