World Leaders' Dialogues
Health, Naturally – Managing Healthy Parks for Healthy People
November 16, 2014; 5:30 – 7:00pm
© IUCN Photo Library/Eric Hidalgo
For millennia, communities have understood the inherent health benefits gained from nature. However, sprawling urbanization coupled with shrinking natural spaces has left society disconnected from the natural world. Deteriorating population health and an increase in both non-communicable and contagious disease are linked to a growing phenomenon known as “nature deficit disorder.” Indeed, eco-health experts caution that human impacts on the environment lead to the spread of emerging and infectious disease including malaria, yellow fever, Lyme disease, dengue, as well as the latest Ebola outbreak. Health and wellbeing decision-makers advocate for a greater focus on preventative health care as a way of reducing the disease burden and associated costs and conservationists just as strongly advocate for the role of protected areas in providing natural solutions to a range of society’s problems including health and wellbeing. How can the positive impacts of nature for human health be accurately measured to influence a broader political agenda? This Dialogue will challenge the health and parks sectors to give the evidence and outline opportunities for managing healthy parks for healthy people.