Join CLEARING HOUSE and REGREEN in Brussels for their final event to discuss the potential of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) to re-green our urban spaces.
Tag: green care
From social farming to impacts of disconnection from nature on psychological and community resilience to finding science-based strategies to innovate and promote nature-based health and social care: on 7 December around 100 participants from 24 countries across 4 continents joined the final online event of the Green4C (GreenForCare) project. A mentimeter showed that people came from varying working backgrounds: education, research, Green Care practice, Health care, politics, and more.
The event was opened with an exciting presentation by Matilda van den Bosch (IS Global) discussing the state of science in Green Care. Green Care stands for a “range of activities that promote physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature” (1). Her presentation set the scene for the meeting showing how crucial nature is for our physical and psychological health. Next, Deirdre O’Connor (University College Dublin) and Marjolein Elings (Wageningen University & Research) introduced Social Agriculture, one of thematic sectors of Green Care. Especially the video from social farms and gardens brought across the feeling of how much social agriculture can do for physical and mental well-being as well as to strengthen social inclusion. As Jim Hidderley put it in the video “Humanity is not designed to life in a box! Green spaces, fresh air, animals and contact with other people that is, that is the key to life”.
Mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression are especially since the pandemic on a massive rise around the globe (1) and scientific studies have shown that we spend around 90% of our time indoors (2). At the same time the research is becoming more and more clear: nature does not only help to improve our physical but also psychological wellbeing, summarized under the term “Green Care”, standing for a “range of activities that promote physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature” (3). Several studies have shown that when we spend time in nature our stress levels are lowered (4), our anxiety level decreases (5) and the time spent in forests can even help in preventing or curing burn-out and depression (6). We can reconnect to our emotions which facilitates personal insights and leaves us feeling more connected to ourselves (7) and cope better with stress, which makes us more resilient and positively affects our mood states (8). Furthermore, our social connection can be facilitated when we deeply experience forests together (7). But it is not only humans who benefit from spending time in nature: There might also be a positive outcome for nature, because research shows that if we feel connected we are more motivated to behave environmentally responsible (9) and support pro-environmental outcomes (10).
But even though research results are so promising, Green Care initiatives often face difficulties due to uncertainties in financing, low public awareness, recognition of the role of such initiatives and there has hardly been any integration into health policy to date. The Green4C project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, has been working the last three years towards the innovation and promotion of Green Care. In order to find innovative solutions to mainstream Green Care, six hackathons in six countries were organized, one of which was the Green Care Hackathon on the 23rd of November at the EFI office in Bonn.
Waren Sie in diesem heißen Sommer auch so glücklich, im Stadtpark unter Bäumen auszuruhen? Haben Sie auch gemerkt, wie ruhig und zufrieden uns städtische Grünflächen und -Wälder machen kann – egal, ob wir dort Chillen, Joggen, oder mit Expert*innen etwas über die Wunder unserer Natur lernen?
Wir haben uns gefragt: Wie können wir noch mehr von den positiven Auswirkungen von Natur- und Umweltpädagogik, oder auch von Waldtherapie profitieren? Wie könnte dieses “Green Care” als Präventivleistung von Krankenkassen angeboten werden, und welche innovativen und tragfähige privatwirtschaftliche Initiativen gibt es? Um mit Ihnen gemeinsam Antworten zu diesen Fragen zu finden, veranstaltet das European Forest Institute in Bonn am 23. November 2022 im Rahmen des „Green4C“-Projektes einen “Hackathon”.