Indoor living: What is the cost in sunlight? By Marc Sorenson, EdD.
Indoor living is potentially debilitating because it creates an unnatural environment, especially when carried to extremes. It pollutes our surroundings, and because it places us in an abnormal ambience, robs us of our natural existence. Now, no one should suggest that I want the populace to be outside 24 hours per day. Nevertheless, it seems like we are relentlessly pursuing the opposite—a world of 24 hours per day inside. In the last few decades, we have moved indoors from a mostly agrarian society. Thus, we have lost our hard physical labor, our contact with the earth, and our fresh air. Another vital loss has been the loss of sunlight, our greatest healer.
So just how much time do we spend in indoor living? The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS) summed it up quite well with the use of a chart.
One gleans from the chart that we spend 87% of our time indoors, plus another 6% inside a car. That is almost no outdoor living at all!
To an extent, we engage in indoor living because we fear the sunlight, and especially melanoma.
Considering the chart data, it makes one wonder why we fear the sunlight so much. Yet, the media constantly bombards us with messages to avoid sunlight and further endanger ourselves by slathering ourselves with sunscreens. Sunscreens, of course, are another method to reduce the minuscule quantity of sunlight available to our sedentary, indoor lives. That sunlight might otherwise find its way to the skin and save our lives.
Fear of melanoma is one major factor that has driven us to indoor living and poor health.
The Melanoma International Foundation stated that melanoma has increased alarmingly since 1935. They show that in that year, approximately one in 1500 people had a melanoma diagnosis. They then said that people had 30 times the risk of melanoma in 2010-2014 as they did in 1935 and blamed the increase on increasing sun exposure after 1935. Nevertheless, as melanoma increased, sun exposure decreased by about 90%! Most agrarian and other outdoor jobs nearly disappeared. For a full analysis of this counterintuitive message from the dermatologists, read the book, Embrace the Sun.
One might think that since indoor living increased so profoundly, melanoma should also decrease profoundly.
Here is another chart that I prepared for Embrace the Sun. It shows the spectacular increase in melanoma that accompanied the remarkable decrease in sun exposure.
For robust health, we must eschew a life of nearly total indoor living and return to the natural, outdoor lifestyle. We must also obtain some regular, non-burning sunlight without sunscreen.