As a species we have always asked questions about what it is to be human – our ethics, morals, values, beliefs and purpose. The answers always providing a clear separation of H. sapiens from all other living things. We are now starting to ask some serious questions about the future of our own survival based on what we are observing happening to the state of the planet’s human survival systems (water, food, air, soil and biodiversity) and the saddening global pandemic of self-inflicted lifestyle related diseases.
It is difficult to imagine what could be more important right now than knowledge about how we can avoid, mitigate and adapt to these crises. Strangely enough the knowledge, and we believe much of the solution, comes from looking at our past to best guide our direction in the future. I say strangely because throughout human history we have strived (and very successfully) to separate ourselves from our ancestral past – physically, mentally, ethically, socially and technologically. This has been seen as a mark of progress for our species.
A compelling growing body of international evidence, that is currently at fever pitch, is confirming that those little residual threads of past connection to the natural world that niggle within us such as the feelings of wellbeing that many of us have when in natural environments, are not only real but a very important part of the solution to our human crises. Only this week did we see another piece of evidence relating to the global burden on our mental health budget being released with an estimation that protected areas such as national parks around the world contribute over $8 trillion in benefits. Researchers estimate that this contribution to the Australian economy is around $145 billion from improved mental health of visitors.
I am really excited about what the next few years of research will tell us about the benefits of nature connection to our health and wellbeing and our program “It’s Naturally You” will be giving you access to our evidence base and our evidence summaries……….but if you are equally happy to listen to those little 55 million year old feelings you have when in natural places, then we won’t be offended!