The Nature and Environment to Attain and Restore (NEAR) Health Project aims to connect people with blue and green nature spaces. The overall aim of the NEAR-Health project is to design and pilot inclusive nature-based solutions to assist communities value a healthy environment, maintain healthy lifestyles and promote and restore wellbeing. We will utilise perceptions and values to develop a framework that integrates health and environment in Ireland, devise and pilot toolkits to evaluate what communities value in relation to public spaces and to pilot the mechanisms and pathways to mobilise use of blue and green spaces such as parks, coasts and other nature-based solutions to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
It sets out to:
- apply evidence of wellbeing and health benefits from ecosystems to devise toolkits for practitioners
- innovate and pilot nature-based solutions to engage people with the natural environment as a sustainable health strategy
- inform, involve and collaborate with policymakers, practitioners and communities in realising the health benefits from the natural environment
- recommend implementation strategies in Ireland.
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Clean Coasts Ambassador, Dr. Easkey Britton, speaks at An Taisce’s annual Clean Coasts Symposium & Ocean Hero Awards during the Wellbeing session. Her talk is entitled ‘Humans of the Sea’ and offers some insights into a new Near Health, EPA/HSE study starting 2016 which relates strongly to the Sea Change study underway in the EU and USA:
Jointly funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health Service Executive.
The NEAR Health project is based in the Whitaker and Ryan Institutes at the National University of Ireland Galway. Together with the ECO-Health project at UCD it forms part of the Healthy Ireland initiative.