SWEEP x Agile Rabbit: Protecting nature – improving our health

On 13th October a collaboration between SWEEP Investing in Nature for Health and Agile Rabbit hosted an open online event Protecting nature – improving our health.

In this free online event, we took a deep dive into the benefits nature provides us and what this means for how we protect the natural world, with perspectives from science, policy, practice and the arts. Stimulating thinking and debate around the health benefits of protecting the natural environment, this event aimed to raise awareness and foster a sense of empowerment for action.

We looked at how people and organisations are working together to understand our relationship with nature and the critical role it plays in our health and wellbeing. As our natural resources come under ever increasing threat, we considered the question – how can we protect the environment and improve health for all?

Speakers included:

  • Emily Stevenson, co-founder of the award-winning social enterprise: Beach Guardian
  • Beth Collier, Nature Allied Psychotherapist and ethnographer, and director of Wild in the City
  • Luke Pollard, MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Jono Reeves, Principal Research Officer (Health & Wellbeing) WWT
  • Ben Wheeler, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter

The event was chaired by Anu Anand, a presenter with 22 years experience in international news and current affairs.

SWEEP logo

SWEEP is a partnership between the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Funded by NERC it brings together experts and stakeholders to solve key challenges faced by those working with our natural resources.

The aim of the SWEEP Investing in Nature for Health project is to inform and enhance environmental investment and management for health and wellbeing outcomes.

The SWEEP team have:

  • Built a network of cross-sectoral stakeholders sharing information, resources and ideas.
  • Developed a unique database on the latest research evidence on the health benefits of natural environments and used this to develop bespoke reports that are supporting organisation’s monitoring and evaluation activities and strengthening their business cases for further funding
  • Developed a series of resources, as outlined below:

Key resources from the SWEEP Investing in Nature for Health project include:

Making the most of green space for people’s healthGuidance on how green space benefits health and can be improved, expanded and promoted to maximise benefits for people and the environment.
Alternative funding mechanisms for green spaceOutlines mechanisms for funding green space beyond local authority provision, including case studies of successful use.
More than just a skate park? A review and practical guide on how to make urban green space more accessible to adolescents to support health and wellbeingA review and practical guide on how to make urban green space more accessible to teenagers.
Rapid scoping review of health and wellbeing evidence for the Green Infrastructure StandardsSWEEP team members contributed this review for Natural England as part of the process of developing new green infrastructure standards.
Webinar Recordings including:

Beyond ramps and handrails: designing with and for the senses

Alternative mechanisms for funding green space

Green space and adolescent health and wellbeing: More than just skate parks?

Wetlands and forests for health and wellbeing

Findings from the People and Nature survey

The Plymouth Green Minds project

Gardens for health and wellbeing

Environmental investment for health outcomes: What does the evidence say?

Lessons from the Dartmoor Naturally Healthy project

Public Health Dorset: Stories from the Healthy Places project
SWEEP Investing in Nature for Health has hosted a series of webinars from a range of our partners, covering a wide array of topics and case studies. You can view recordings of the webinars via these links.

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