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News

 

Events

 

Mar 2021 right left

01

Consultation on NICVAs Manifesto for Change:Key 1

Tuesday 2nd March
Online
Free

CCC– Net Zero: The need for joint action on adaptation

Wednesday 3rd March
Online
Free

ORNI Conference and Strategy Launch

Wednesday 3rd March
Online
Free

Regenerating your soil – Agronomy and Business Virtual Conference for Arable Growers

Wednesday 3rd March
Online
Free

Consultation on NICVAs Manifesto for Change – EVENT 2

Thursday 4th March
Online
Free

05
06
07

Scoping Surveys for Arborists

Monday 8th March
Online
£120.50

Conversations about Climate Change: Northern Ireland’s Energy Challenge

Tuesday 9th March
Online
Free

Consultation on NICVAs Manifesto for Change – EVENT 3

Tuesday 9th March
Online
Free

The Earth Connects Us: The geology and landscapes of the Mourne Gullion Strangford Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark

Tuesday 9th March
Online
Free

Webinar – Chemicals Stakeholder Event – REACH

Wednesday 10th March
Online
Free

Grow and Gain with Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Thursday 11th March
Online
Free

12
13
14
15

The Rivers Trust Conference: Water at the heart of climate resilience

Tuesday 16th March
Online
Free

17

Rural Policy Group – RED Talk: Energy and Industry

Thursday 18th March
Online
Free

BTO: NI Seabird Report 2020 Launch

Thursday 18th March
Online
Free

19
20
21

Imagine! Festival 2021

Monday 22nd March
Online

Greener Recovery Festival

Monday 22nd March
Online
£6 – £72

BITC:NI: Case studies on climate action: Power NI & SONI

Monday 22nd March
Online
Free

23

Introducing 20 Minute Neighbourhoods

Wednesday 24th March
Online
Free

BITC:NI: Case studies on climate action: Translink

Wednesday 24th March
Online
Free

Post–pandemic Planning for Healthy Streets and Inclusive Active Travel

Wednesday 24th March
Online
Free

Dr Stelios Grafakos: ‘The Promise of Green Growth’

Thursday 25th March
Online
Free

Tales of the Times Celebration Event

Thursday 25th March
Online
Free

26
27
28
29

BITC:NI: Case studies on climate action: Lidl

Tuesday 30th March
Online
Free

31
   
 

Green spaces & mental health 26 March 2021

Green spaces aren’t just for nature – they boost our mental health too!

Kate Douglas via New Scientist

Image via Pixabay

FROM the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the orange gardens of Seville, urban planners down the ages have taken inspiration from nature. And those of us living in the concrete and brick jungle have perhaps never appreciated scraps of green space more than during the covid–19 pandemic. During lockdowns, city dwellers across the world have found parks and gardens – where they exist an unexpected source of calm and joy.

That comes as no surprise to the growing number of psychologists and ecologists studying the effects of nature on people’s mental health and well–being. The links they are uncovering are complex, and not yet fully understood. But even as the pandemic has highlighted them, it has also exposed that, in an increasingly urbanised world, our access to nature is dwindling – and often the most socio–economically deprived people face the biggest barriers. Amid talk about building back better, there is an obvious win–win–win here. Understand how to green the world’s urban spaces the right way and it can boost human well–being, help redress social inequality and be a boon for the biodiversity we all depend on.

On evolutionary timescales, urban living is a new invention. Our species has existed for at least 300,000 years, but the oldest cities are only some 6000 years old. Only recently – little more than a decade ago, according to figures from the UN Population Division – have we become a majority–urban species. Now the number of us living in cities is booming like never before. By 2050, projections suggest almost 70 per cent of us will be urban dwellers (see “Urban latecomers”).

Our late arrival into cities might help explain our affinity with nature and green spaces. In 1984, biologist Edward O. Wilson made this connection explicit with his “biophilia” hypothesis. His idea was that the environment in which humans evolved has shaped our brain, priming it to respond positively to cues that would have enhanced survival for our ancestors, such as trees, savannah, lakes and waterways. This, Wilson argued, is why being in nature makes us feel good.

Whether that is the reason or not, the past few years have seen an explosion of research finding concrete links between increased exposure to nature and not just improved physical health, but better mental health, too. Mental health issues are estimated to account for as much as a third of all years lived with disability, and account for around 13 per cent of disability–adjusted life–years (DALYs) lost, similar to the toll of cardiovascular disease and circulatory disorders.

 

Read more here.