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Will we choose fresh air or air freshener?

The news is full of woe: children at the border, riots in Hong Kong, a hurricane in the Bahamas. And just today the Environmental Protection Agency (sic) announced that it will cease restricting methane, a major pollutant in the earth’s atmosphere.

What can we do?

The psychologist Erich Fromm told his depressed patients to go to the zoo. Another psychologist recommended reading the I Ching.

For me, I like going to a botanical garden.

When I’m pained by the thuggishness of others, or sick, or simply lonely, noticing the diversity of life in a greenhouse can have a wonderfully restorative effect on me. Consider these desert plants at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden: how many colors and shapes there are, how no plant is ugly.

“The sight of that association of plants,” the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx said, “gives us the impression of a covenant for living together.”

I’m not sure methane would work out so well for me, or for the animals in the zoo, let alone children at the border, but as we all know, life started in a garden.