The Health and Social Benefits of Nature and Biodiversity Protection

Social and health benefits of Nature

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Life in the city

With seven out of ten people living in urban areas, a big part of our society is exposed to different impacts derived from the high population density and technology use. These impacts affect to our health at physical and psychological level alike, leading to an important expenditure on healthcare resources. However, scientific evidences exist on the role that nature can have in palliating the negative effects related with urban life style. Away from being the solution to these problems, interaction with nature is an effective way of preventing diseases derived from them.

How Nature can help?

Air and noise pollution, are the foremost causes of illness in our society. Whilst air pollutants induce respirational and cardiovascular diseases, excessive noise level causes sleep disturbance and stress. Likewise, low physical activity levels, mental diseases, social exclusion and inequalities are matters of great concern in urban areas that affect a significant part of the population. In this regard, the interaction with nature has been pr0ved to be benefitial both in the recovery of certain diseases and on improving the overall health status of city inhabitants. This way, green infrastructures reduce the exposure to air pollutants and reduce noise propagation, and natural areas provide citizens with places to reduce their obesity, improve their mental health and develop social inclusion opportunities through volunteering programs and jobs.

Workshop on The Health and Social Benefits of Biodiversity and Nature Protection

Last January, EUROPARC representatives participated in the Workshop on Health and Social Benefits of Biodiversity and Nature Protection, providing case studies and advise. The objective of this study, which was promoted by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, was to analyse and document the scientific evidence behind the benefits of nature protection and biodiversity conservation.

The report of this study is already available, and includes extended information on the health and social benefits of nature along with recommendations on how the EU can contribute to promote them. Read the whole report here.