Nature, biodiversity and human health: how strong is the evidence?
In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the vital links between the natural environment and human health and wellbeing ? one of the BES?s policy priorities. The UK Government?s Natural Environment White Paper explicitly acknowledges that ?human wellbeing is intimately connected with our natural environment?, whilst the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts are leading calls for a ?Nature and Wellbeing Act?, based on the view that there is ?considerable evidence to show that contact with nature can help to prevent and reverse poor health and wellbeing?. This link is also finding greater resonance with public health professionals, as demonstrated by the Faculty of Public Health?s call to make better use of our ?natural health service?.
See more at: nature-biodiversity-and-human-health-how-strong-is-the-evidence
This comes at a time when we are busy discussing the IECC, and most surprisingly from the UK. Looks like the UK is setting the pace this time, and the “Natural Environment White Paper| from the Government is quite comprehensive, reflecting most like on a will to straighten up the situation. Let is hope it is not an election propaganda. cannot be when we look at the other document ?Nature and Wellbeing Act.? Now we are talking about a legal instrument, much similar we are seeking (IECC). If the Act goes through, then its clauses will have to be enforced, through an appropriate court of law. Are we seeing the beginning of an actual environmental criminal court at the national level in the UK. Quite encouraging and a great step forward in our quest for the same at the international level.
So we should follow that one closely.
Let’s hope so Ven. Unfortunately there are a lot of dodgy things that happen in politics; the vested interests are remarkably able to make things disappear; or delay any real implementaion. We’ve noticed many times that Westminster will sneak some bit of legislation into being, while the world’s attention is diverted (e.g. Ukraine, Charlie Hebdo, or Jews some place or other).
The other aspect: that of Nature being good for us is also well-known. In Britain the National Parks were established after WW2 to get people out of the industrialised cities and into the countryside. That’s why it is doubly bad for fools like Cameron to try and destroy these green spaces through fracking, house-building and un-needed road construction.
If you cast your mind back to The Bird’s Directive (1979): it was a remarkable piece of legislation, in that one of its underpinning tenets was ‘economics are NOT a valid reason to destroy a habitat’. In 1983 Thatcher’s: Habitat’s Directive, which was generally good, contained one innocuous sentence: “economics ARE a valid reason to destroy a habitat”. Thus all the good work under Birds was undone. 🙁
It’s an excellent post Ven with all the links and references. I think the direction this attempt with the Act is good, significant step, still quite far from being a reality. If it will be, it will be effective in UK territory only I suppose. So IECC will be sizable by two magnitude… 🙂
Mike. I could not agree more with you that politicians always have some dubious agendas to pursue and given their position to do and undo legislations they most of the time cause more harm than good. But what we hope to see happening around the world soon is a change of direction. It happened in Greece. And I am confident that people will start being more pro-active in whatever concerns them.
If we look at what is being proposed by the RSPB and TWT, we find that similar to the Bruxelles group, they are associating health with nature. Given that people are much more concerned about health, that they understand very well, than ecosystem services which they hardly understand, my guess is that there will be concern, and a call for action too.
Janos, as much as we are making the first steps, it is encouraging to see others joining in that effort, even if at the national level. I just hope that the UK move creates a domino effect and other countries join in until it reaches the level of being an international effort. Let us wait a see the outcome.
I am ever hopeful. It really feels like this year is a year of shifting. I think we are right on the mark with BA and all of our other various efforts. I do think there will be big shake ups politically, but that is likely to be for the good. I do comment as I see fit, but deep down I know we are steering our world to a better place. YES 🙂
Yes Ven, I agree we might be able to see a domino effect which might have a positive outcome at the end. Recently I read that for the word ‘crisis’ the Chinese use two kanji symbols. The first means ‘danger’ the second one ‘opportunity’.
Yes indeed, things are moving, and UNEP has now joined the fray:
“Montreal/Kolkata, 13 February 2015 – A ground-breaking report on biodiversity and health, launched today at the 14th World Congress on Public Health, in Kolkata, India, shows the significant contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services to better human health”. – See more at: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2818&ArticleID=11139&sthash.NNKmlRDq.uRzYGsYd.mjjo#sthash.NNKmlRDq.abC1i2Cu.dpuf
Or is it simple lip service, yet again, from the UN, or a further strategy to kill off what others are starting.
Maybe Ven, one of their strategies is to take over things, then they stall. We’ll see. Mike
If you look in the Guardian today ~ Labour Party says if it is elected in May then Climate Change is a top priority. Carbon free power generation by 2030. Likely includes nuclear, but that is world’s apart from fracking Cameron. Ed has pulled John Prescott in as his personal adviser & climate change focal point. Prescott was one of the authors (or drvers) of Kyoto. Time for a change 🙂