Safeguarding your health and planet earth

Last week’s blog explored younger generations' disconnect with nature, youth-led movements and why Bear is promoting the benefits of nature for our health and the planet. This week we expand on the positives of connecting with nature and your role in safeguarding its future.

Get outside - your mind and body will thank you.

1 in 4 people are affected by a mental health disorder at some stage in their life (1). COVID related health concerns and imposed restrictions have worsened people’s mental (and physical) health all around the globe - young people in particular (2). It’s more important than ever to turn to nature and/or seek professional help.

A simple Google search will spit out thousands of blogs, articles, videos and open access journal articles (we love free scientific communications) outlining the benefits of connecting with nature. A great review article was published recently summarising the research behind the personal benefits of connecting with nature (3) - decreased anxiety and improved memory performance (4), stress mitigation and prevention (5), improved overall well-being and mental health (6, 7) are pretty awesome reasons to get outside right? Not to mention running in the woods or swimming in the ocean is far more stimulating than a treadmill or highly chlorinated pool.

You should care about the environment

Do you like coffee? Clean water? Clean air? You can thank the forces of nature for these, yet human activity threatens their very existence. Leading environmental and climate scientist Johan Rockström paints a clear picture (8). We have entered a whole new geological epoch (period of time) the Anthropocene - the time in Earth’s history where human activity has started to significantly impact the planet’s climate and ecosystems. COVID-19 and irregular weather events for example, are manifestations of the anthropocene. Unsustainable farming practices, increased greenhouse gas emissions, single use products, a growing global population and lack of leadership threatens to destabilise the earth’s ability to provide resources and as a result, we risk a mass extinction.

You have the power to make a difference.

Just over half the world’s countries operate under a democratic regime (9). Without ignoring the complexities and voting injustices in many countries around the world, in theory, there is the ability to vote for a party that supports your ideas on what type of world we should live in. We’ve seen this particularly in the United States with the much anticipated election. Fuelled by gun violence, racial inequality and climate change concerns, a record 7 million young people had voted early (10). This is a positive sign and we wholly encourage empowering youth to take action.

If you’re in a position like the United Kingdom, where the next general election is years away or you’re unable to vote, small steps like reducing your plastic use or choosing to ride a bike instead of driving, is a good start. The World Wildlife Fund has outlined why we should care and simple ways you can help save our planet (11,12). Every action, no matter how big or small, directly helps safeguard the future of our world.

With much of the United Kingdom and Europe entering Lockdown 2.0, it’s more important than ever to look after your mental health and think of the type of future we want. One where pandemics and extreme weather dominates, or one where people and planet thrive?

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