People across Europe face health and social challenges that deserve immediate attention – obesity, mental health problems, social exclusion, air pollution, noise, and heat stress in cities. These issues have a particular impact on socio-economically vulnerable and vulnerable groups and increase pressure on the already difficult health budget situation.
The Ecological Network Friends of the Earth Europe as a part of the campaign “Nature is our right” is carrying out activities aimed at advocating the protection of nature and ensuring access to nature for all people. For the purpose of this campaign, a report was produced by the Institute for European Environmental Policy.
“We all need nature in our lives, that is what gives us freedom and helps us live healthy. Depleted communities are often cut off from nature and have an extremely negative impact on their well-being. Nature is our right, and it is up to the EU, as well as the state and local authorities, to better protect and restore nature for a large number of people, not just a few, ” said Robbie Blake, a nature campaigner from Friends of the Earth Europe.
Protection and restoration of natural areas and the prescribing of a stay in nature as preventative health measure can be shown to be key to the fight against negative health consequences in the poorly populated communities.
“Cities such as Oslo i Victoria-Gasteiz make nature accessible to its citizens. They are an inspiration to us, and we need to work together to ensure that across Europe everyone has access to nature within 300 meters of their homes in the next ten years, ” said Patrick Ten Brink, director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy.
Available data point to a strong link between lack of access to natural areas, health problems and inequalities, in the first instance higher obesity, mental health problems, and higher mortality rates. Lack of access to nature contributes to health inequality, and improving and facilitating access to all individuals is the key to addressing these problems.
“We draw attention to the importance and multiple benefits of nature for human health. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still abundant with its highly preserved nature which is under increasing pressure. We appeal to citizens to spend more time in nature, and to those in charge a need to preserve nature in urban and rural environments,” says Iva Miljević from Center for Environment.
By this step we will improve health and social integration and make a big step towards reducing social and health inequalities.
Therefore, let’s nourish out nature and the nature will nourish us!