Recent studies have shown that vegetation and greenery around the home or workplace helps to improve mental health.
According to the Dallas Morning News, “Adults are less overwhelmed by their problems when there’s green space near their inner-city homes” (April 13). At school, a few more shrubs and patches of green can even improve academic performance. “Children are better able to shrug off stress, and better able to concentrate, when they have contact with natural surroundings, studies show” (ibid.).
One study compared Chicago public housing developments that had no greenery with those that had plenty of landscaping. It found that crime rates were cut in half where there was vegetation.
This reminds us of the way Herbert W. Armstrong beautified and maintained his Ambassador College campuses. On three separate occasions, his Pasadena campus was awarded the most beautiful and best landscaped campus in the United States. At times, critics wondered if Ambassador College was too beautiful. Mr. Armstrong asked way back in November 1949, “Is God displeased with beautiful things, with things that are the very finest and best—combining His own glorious and beautiful nature in a variety of stately, beautiful and rare trees, shrubs, vines, hedges, flowers with buildings, and furnishings that represent the very best and most conscientious of human effort and craftsmanship? Is God displeased because we at Ambassador take care to carefully dress and keep up the rare and magnificent place He provided for His college? Would we please Him more if we let it run down, go to weeds, and to rust and rot?” (Plain Truth).
While Mr. Armstrong was living, Ambassador College was a tremendous example of what mankind should have done with this Earth after God instructed us to “dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15).
Well ahead of his time, Mr. Armstrong understood the positive impact a beautiful environment has on an individual’s productivity and mental health. He considered Ambassador College a modest foretaste of the beauty that will spring forth all over the world once Jesus Christ returns.