October 27, 2020

Nature as therapy for healthy de-escalation

Nature will be the best therapy to overcome the physical and mental disorders derived from the long confinement of the COVID-19 crisis, and will become the most effective antivirus against future pandemics, emphasize experts consulted by Efe.

But for nature to respond to those needs, it will have to heal wounds such as the extinction of species, the loss of biodiversity, illegal trafficking, the consumption of wild animals, the degradation of ecosystems, the climate crisis and an unsustainable model of production and consumption.


For Juan Carlos del Olmo, Secretary General of WWF Spain, “if we have learned anything from this crisis, it is that we need to integrate nature into our lives, due to the ecosystem services it provides and because emotionally we depend on it, it helps us to disconnect, to de-stress ourselves and our brain works better the cleaner the air is ”.

The confinement “has shown two castes of citizens, those who have had the opportunity to look out on a terrace, a garden, touch a plant or see the light and those who have not, and has shown the excellence of living in an environment rural, to which before we only saw disadvantages ”, he underlines in statements to Efe.

For the secretary general of WWF Spain, “there is no health of the planet and one of human beings, there is only one health, and the first lesson that the pandemic leaves us is that when we fight against nature, we always lose, it gives you back the hit like a boomerang. ”

However, “just as viruses originate in nature, nature itself can also serve as a vaccine,” he says, so “caring for our ecosystems is the best investment today.”


For this reason, it encourages us to enjoy nature in a respectful way during the lack of confinement in the spaces that the Natura 2000 Network makes available to all citizens, “a true treasure that occupies almost 28 percent of our territory and that, wherever you go go, show a place to breathe, touch and enjoy ”.

One week after the celebration of the European Day of the Natura 2000 Network, “it is also time to remember that the network is not complete, that there are still many spaces without an adequate management plan and without the necessary investment to continue providing their services beyond having a label ”, clarifies Del Olmo.

Another lesson learned during this pandemic has been the lack of preparedness for a global threat; “And this is not the most serious, everything that will come from the climate crisis will demand a united response and a prepared system that invests in common goods, such as health, but also in nature and air, which will be our antibodies.”


He believes that the de-escalated call also opens opportunities for the rural world against another great threat, the emptied Spain, “whose products have shown a great dependence and that offers another model of tourism now that we are forced to rethink our vacations.”

He says that in recent years the social perception of the environment has greatly improved, but “we have to de-escalate the war against nature that is piloting an unsustainable consumption model that will continue to be there when we all leave the house if we do not change our habits.”

In this sense, he was pleased that, “despite the pressure from the most reactionary countries to divert all investments to economic recovery, Spain and Europe play an important role in dedicating efforts to comply with a green economy, which also it is capable of massively generating employment ”.


In 2005, the American writer and journalist Richard Louv coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder in his book “The last child in the forest”, in which he defined a series of pathologies related to sedentary life patterns and the lack of contact with nature, especially in children.

The head of the Urban Biodiversity program of SEO / BirdLife, Beatriz Sánchez, explains to Efe that this nature deficit “increases the risk of being overweight and obese, respiratory diseases, such as asthma, stress, attention deficit and hyperactivity or lack of vitamin D”.

“Turning our backs on nature goes against our well-being,” says the SEO / BirdLife expert, who emphasizes that healthy and biodiverse ecosystems “make us more resilient against threats such as climate change or pandemics like that of COVID-19 ”.

Cristina Yuste


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