Making connections between nature and our health |

Making connections between nature and our health |

What’s in a garden? In the case of Nina-Marie Lister, a hive of biodiversity.

Lister, a professor of urban and regional planning at Metropolitan University of Toronto, doesn’t call his front yard a “garden.” No, it’s an urban “meadow,” teeming with all manner of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and unwieldy trees.

Weeds for some, biodiversity for others. She fought successfully against the city of Toronto, whose city officials insisted that her prairie be completely mowed down. This urban oasis is, for Lister, more of an acknowledgment of the importance of the natural world, whether in your front yard or in the vast expanses of unspoilt Canadian wilderness.

Read more:

What can a “sponge” teach us about building resilient cities? It turns out that many

“We have a long history, especially in the colonial settler tradition, of getting away from the wilderness, of taming nature, of reclaiming it,” she told Global News in an interview in the fall. last. Cue the manicured lawn, which Lister insists is the antithesis of biodiversity.

To do this, she will travel to Montreal this week to attend COP15, a major United Nations conference dedicated to protecting the planet’s natural ecosystems. The conference’s high-level goal is to protect 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030.

It is a smaller, more focused United Nations conference than the one that just ended in Egypt, which had very little to show. The hope this time around is that conservationists, policymakers and politicians can find enough common ground to conserve and restore more natural areas around the world.

Last month, a major report on the state of the world’s species revealed that more than 2,200 plants, fish and other animals in Canada may be at risk. Then there are heat waves, floods and fires, which scientists predict will only increase in frequency and ferocity.

The good news, experts say, is a growing recognition around the world that people and nature can do nothing but co-exist.

“Canadians understand at a deep and instinctive level the importance of nature to our well-being,” says Gauri Sreenivasan, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Nature Canada.

Getting out into nature, she says, was essential for people’s physical and mental health during the COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions. The pandemic, she adds, has also made people realize how closely connected everyone is to the natural world.

“More and more, people are starting to see the connections between how (these) essential life support systems keep us all alive, that we’re all part of nature, and that we’re all connected.”

This recognition of the protection of nature as a cornerstone of well-being is something that the business world must also reckon with. Mike Lyons, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, says more and more companies are realizing that reducing their environmental footprint is a good business decision.

“I think people are starting to ring the bell around proactive climate action a lot more than we’ve seen in the past.”

In October, his firm conducted a survey of 1,600 large companies, many of which linked emissions reductions to everything from improved reputations to lower operating costs to higher valuations. .

From a legal point of view, new measures have also been taken to protect the natural wonders of the world. In Quebec, the Magpie River, a popular destination for rafting, has been granted “legal person” status in an effort to protect it from hydroelectric development.

Read more:

How a river in Quebec won the right to be a legal entity

This is part of a growing global movement, started by Ecuador, to extend legal rights to nature.

In Canada, Indigenous peoples have known for centuries that driving over nature without paying attention has extremely negative consequences.

A hundred years ago, a lake in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, east of Vancouver, drained to make way for farmland. Last year the area was hit by devastating floods that would have had somewhere to go if the lake had never gone.

“I think if our people had been listened to a century or more ago…we would be in a much better place now,” says Chief Dalton Silver of the Sumas Nation, which is adjacent to the floodplain.

“Why would people even want to do something like that?”

Indigenous peoples lived on the land now known as Canada for centuries before the arrival of European explorers and, according to Chief Silver, had a relationship with nature that is based on the idea of ​​living and to learn with “everything around us”.

Read more:

Chief of Sumas First Nation reflects on ‘catastrophic’ flooding in British Columbia, where the lake used to be

Forgotten for years, this traditional ecological knowledge will be at the heart of the next conference in Montreal.

This knowledge, adds Nature Canada’s Sreenivasan, has long provided “a better way to explain our connection to nature (and) how humans are part of nature.”

“We need to tap into Indigenous knowledge and expertise.

#Making #connections #nature #health

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *