These are the proposals in the manifesto, listed by the ministry. You may comment on the proposals, preferably with a view to selecting something for action. If you would like this to be considered as a project for further discussion as to the exact action desired, please advise in the comment.

Social Inclusion and Access to Nature Aims

1. Recognise access to diverse nature as a human right, and reinstate that access to all members of society. Regular access to nature improves mental and physical health: it calms the mind, lowers blood pressure, increases concentration, boosts self-confidence, and mediates our most human traits of emotions, meaning and compassion. 5 , 6 Nature has forever been a universal language across cultures, and it must continue to be freely accessible to all in our society.

2. Voluntary full- or part-time eco-community service for all, with a small increment on benefit payments (from universal credit to pensions) in return for hours worked on local wildlife conservation or environmental schemes. The Conservation Volunteers are one of several nationwide organisations offering free training programmes for people to gain skills that will help them find employment. Incremental bonuses (not necessarily of financial nature) for hours spent volunteering on environmental issues are good incentives, and can act as gateways for improving environmental awareness amongst key groups.

3. Where wild areas are open to the public, ensure all people are able to enjoy them, by providing adequate accessibility infrastructure.

4. Make reserves and natural areas more welcome to visitors with less visible ability differences – for example autism-friendly areas, noisy sessions, babychanging facilities, Braille and signed guides.

5. NHS to work with environmental organisations to offer eco-prescriptions such as shinrin yoku (forest bathing) – prescribed in Japan for conditions as diverse as anxiety depression, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

6.Create a network of neighbourhood nature ambassadors to inform, inspire and encourage social integration in their communities and serve as a connection with nationwide conservation. Community networks of nature ambassadors can also take certain pressures off local authorities, such as taking ownership of nature reserves and parks through community asset transfer. 7 They can act as communication hubs (managed by local people for local people), and serve as a space for multicultural thinking.

7. Subsidised childcare at nature reserves and “green days” for mothers and babies at Sure Start centres to facilitate access to nature for parents of young children.

8. Recruit, educate and inspire the next generation with all schools having a Wild Thought for the Day – based on real experiences from outdoor trips and outdoor learning. A study by Natural England found that one in nine children had not set foot in a park, forest, or other natural environment over the previous year, 8 with the area that children are able to roam freely decreasing by 90% since the 1970s. Access to nature is essential for personal development, but it is also essential for cultivating an understanding of, and respect for, nature itself - regardless of background. If children do not grow up valuing nature, they will not want to protect it.

9. Ensure there is a 50:50 gender balance among contributors to nature and environment discussion panels, wildlife TV shows and other forms of environmental journalism. Every year new industries are being scrutinised and emerge as gender unbalanced. 9 Encouraging the broad nature, environment and conservation industry to have a 50:50 gender balance offers more than just a balance of gender. A diverse group of role models reaching out to the widest possible audience, who are united over a common cause, sends a powerful message (especially to children).

10. Zero tolerance for sexist or racist trolling in wildlife social media discussions – perpetrators should be outed and penalised.

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Diversity in Nature and Conservation Aims
Urban Spaces Aims
 

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Friday, 23 August 2019