Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Role of Nature in Human Health and Wellbeing

I would write more on what’s happening with our local health services but frankly I just don’t know what’s going on. I either get confusing and contradictory reports or information overload. So I suppose the bottom line message here is don’t get ill or sick. The NHS still seems pretty good at accidents and emergencies, the unforeseen events that are always with us. They can stitch us up and put us back together but what is more worrying is the long term gradual decline in our health with things like obesity and depression.

Part, arguably a very big part, of this problem is our disconnect from nature. In an unfinished post from Mira some months ago:
The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB are among the many organisations campaigning for a Nature and Wellbeing Act. The crux of this is that creating space for nature also benefits humans by providing what the Wildlife Trusts cutely call Vitamin N.

From the Green Paper:
Nature’s recovery would bring a range of benefits, not least, for our health and wellbeing. Inactivity and obesity are escalating; poor mental health is having a significant impact on wellbeing; climate change is already affecting our urban areas and the productivity of our countryside; many of our villages, towns and cities face growing risk of flooding; and our economy continues to use many of our natural “assets” in an unsustainable way, which is likely to be a brake on progress and development in the future. The list is long.

On Twitter the campaign is @ActForNature.
This campaign was before the 2015 general election, and there does not seem to be any follow up which is hardly surprising given the present government’s attitude to renewable energy, fracking or anything they refer to as the “green blob”. But the fact remains preventative health measures could save the NHS, or to be more precise the taxpayer, £billions per year and access to nature has a role to play here both physically and psychologically.

Here’s what is happening in Redbridge with our fabulous Nature Conservation Team.

And just as I'm about to publish this, two guerrilla gardeners pop up on my twitter timeline ...

Further reading:
Rewilding is not just for nature - it's essential for our own survival: the Ecologist.

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