The colour green is used in nature to represent food, water and life – signalling a place of safety and plenty. In this current heatwave, green welcomingly signals a shady spot. A retreat away from the intense heat. An inviting, lush, cooling oasis where you can feel refreshed and restored.
How does the colour green have those attributes?
A lot of green’s associations and psychological meanings come from nature itself. Green feels familiar and reassuring. It’s innate to us from the beginning of mankind helping us to survive by signally a safe place to set up camp. The colour green signals that the surrounding environment is one that can provide of food and sustainable resources.
Green is also restful colour. It sits in the centre of the colour spectrum, and because of this requires our eyes to make no adjustment when we see green. And there are many different shades of green. Our planet is often described as the green planet; hosting beautiful rainforests, forests, meadows, grasslands, lichen and algae, pond weed, as well as seaweed and seagrass in our oceans. How many different shades of green does that bring to mind?
How green helps us to keep cool and why life depends on it
Have you noticed how hot the roads and pavements feel compared to the green grass on your bare feet? Man made hard surfaces like tarmac, bricks and concrete reflect the heat back. They also form barriers to nature and wildlife.
Imagine a completely hard landscaped garden. Even if there was a shaded area you can already gain a sense the airless heat reflecting back at you from from every hard surface. Now compare that by imagining a garden that’s abundant with green plants, living walls, dappled shade, swaying grasses and flower heads. You can start to sense, movement, life and air. Which one would restore you?
“Most life on Earth depends on photosynthesis. The process is carried out by plants, algae, and some types of bacteria, which capture energy from sunlight to produce oxygen (O2) and chemical energy stored in glucose (a sugar).” National Geographic Society
The more ground that is covered by nature the more it helps to cool the earth and rebalance the natural ecosystem in the surrounding area. Nature has its own wonderful circular regeneration of energy – nothing is wasted. A big part of this is the photosynthesis process. This process absorbs energy from the sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to produces oxygen, stored energy for food and it also gives a lot of our plants their green colouring. The light wave that is reflected back from the surface of the plant leaves is the colour we see. The chlorophyll inside the plants absorb the blue- and red-light waves and reflects back the green-light waves.
The positive psychological qualities of green
The positive psychological meanings of the colour green are creating balance, harmony, and rest. In nature, bright, fresh greens represent new life, where as softer sage and calm blue-greens represent peacefulness and rest. Aqua and lagoon greens have refreshing and invigorating qualities.
Green is the colour of mother earth, nature and universal peace. It naturally represents and draws connections with sustainability and eco-friendly attributes. However, as with all colours, if using a shade out of context, proportion or misalignment with your brand values, personality and brand communications it can create mistrust and communicate the negative psychological traits of green, which results in clients walking away. Instead always be authentic and true to your values and brand story.
Ways to embrace the colour green to help you avoid the heat
During this heatwave we all need to do what we can to keep cool and hydrated. Here are some ways you can embrace the colour green in your life to help you avoid the heat now and also prepare ahead for future hot days:
- Drinking plenty of water – try infusing with cucumber to help keep you hydrated and refreshed (perhaps even from a leafy printed bamboo cup or aqua coloured glass).
- Shading windows by keeping curtains closed – in the cool of the evening plant up window boxes with drought tolerant plants, or training wall climbers around windows to provide a leafy canopy and help keep rooms cooler.
- Staying indoors/in the shade during the hottest parts of the day – bring the outdoors in by adding houseplants to your workspace and resting places to create a calm, tranquil environment, grow fresh herbs and salads in the kitchen, open windows that are in the shade to allow a welcome breeze when possible.
- Give your feet and soul a pamper with a cool foot bath infused with herbs from the garden or kitchen. Try rosemary, lavender, or mint to help ease stress away. Mint also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. Plus the herbs smell amazing!
- Tie a few sprigs of rosemary in a bunch, and add to your shower or bath under the running water to release its wonderful aroma.
- Eating light meals with green, colourful fresh salads.
- (Eating icecream! – mint choc chip to refresh your taste buds :)).
Create an inviting and restorative space for you and nature. Green is good for the wellbeing of our planet and our lives in many ways.
If you found this journal post interesting, you may like to find out more about ‘green’ in my journal.