Societies are part of the environment as any other particular group of species of plants or animals.
Therefore, the connection between environmental health and ours is firmly attached. We need to take care of the planet and all of its habitats, in order to take care of our own health.
Looking for ways to enforce the idea that a healthy environment is a healthy life for us, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Park Service have partnered to connect people to parks for better health, increasing awareness among people of all ages and all walks of life about the benefits of contact with nature for health and wellness.
Under the banner of “Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Connecting Health and Nature,” the partnership is committed to collaborate in promoting the health and well-being of people of the Americas through initiatives that support a healthy planet and healthy humanity.
NPS Director, Jonathan B. Jarvis and PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne, formalized the partnership on September 12th, at the PAHO headquarters after which the two leaders took a walk to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall.
“Human health and well-being depend very much on our connections to the environment, from our need for clean air and safe water to our enjoyment of outdoor activities,” said PAHO Director Etienne. “Through this partnership, our two organizations will be better able to raise public awareness of the important connections between health and the environment, and to advocate for policies that protect and promote them.”
The agencies will collaborate on events including World Health Day, the World Parks Congress, Great Outdoors Month, U.S. National Park Week, and the Healthy Parks Healthy People International Congress.
They will also share links with each other’s networks to facilitate new alliances with organizations throughout the Americas, including national and local governments, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the private sector, youth networks, and other community-based organizations.
In addition, PAHO/WHO and NPS plan to carry out research and evaluation projects and other joint initiatives in areas such as evaluation of health equity, analysis of health indicators, and health risk and impact assessments.
This partnership is a great step forward in the environment’s protection and enforcement of people’s understanding of the importance of staying healthy by keeping the wilderness healthy.
Remember that the U.S. has hundreds of National Parks, all over its territory and thousands of acres of natural areas, providing innumerable environmental services and benefits. It is just a matter of stepping out of your routine and taking a moment to enjoy the marvelous wilderness.