Time for Nature

03 Jun 20

The link between people and nature has never been more important and, as we transition into a ‘new normal’ the message is simple – if we look after nature then it will look after us.

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At the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the UN named 5th June as an International World Environment Day, and since then it has been a global platform for promoting awareness and a call for action on global environmental problems.

The theme of this year’s WED is about making ‘time for nature’ and celebrating our planet’s incredible biodiversity. As life has slowed down, the biodiversity around us has suddenly become more visible. But why is our connection with nature so important?

It has long-been established that there is an inherent link between human and environmental health, and in the setting of the global pandemic, we are more aware than ever of our relationship with nature. During lockdown, our daily exercise in the local woods or our back gardens have been our only outlet and this has played an important role in maintaining our physical and mental health.

The biological diversity that makes up the natural world around us has been declining at an alarming rate in recent years and this has significant implications for our future way of life, from the food we eat to the medical care we receive. Given the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, the rate of climate change, not to mention the current global pandemic, it is important we address this now before it is too late.

Making time for nature is very relevant at this time, particularly for those without any private outside space. This realisation of the importance of feeling connected to nature and improving biodiversity has profound implications on the design of new developments and, as we continue to build in increasingly constrained areas, there is a clear need for a greater balance between the natural and built environment.

As stated by the Mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante “we are being forced to rethink our rapport with nature, and as climate change and the loss of biodiversity are becoming a real concern, cities must take concrete action, along with society as a whole, because their residents aspire to greener surroundings.”

The tools we need to improve biodiversity and access nature are already available, but if they are to be effective the environmental agenda needs to be embedded within our political, economic and social systems and be planned for now.

This World Environment Day we ask you to take a moment to think about how important nature is to your daily life and the small steps that can be taken to preserve it for the future. The link between people and nature has never been more important and, as we transition into a ‘new normal’ the message is simple – if we look after nature then it will look after us.

Joanna Ready EIA Consultant,Impact Management

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