In these modern times of stressful jobs and social media, people tend sometimes to forget the very existence of nature. However, nature is still out there, folks! Despite the pressure humanity put on nature by e.g. emitting carbon and polluting seas with plastics, luckily still natural beauty can be found in Europe’s forests, mountains, canyons, lakes, etcetera. The fact that this nature still exists can be partly attributed to the presence of protected national parks. The protected status means it is not allowed to build there and / or exploit those places.
European Day of Parks
To commemorate the natural protected areas across Europe, the first edition of The European Day of Parks was launched at 24th of May, 1999. That was precisely 90 years after the first set of nine national parks were established in Sweden. The day aims to celebrate the successes and especially the value of the protected areas.
Nature is there to help us
The value of (protected) parks can be interpret in multiple ways. First, the trees in forests take carbon dioxide out of the air. In return trees provide us of oxygen, next to water the main source of human life. How generous.
Second, natural parks have positive effects on humanity’s well-being. Because of the tranquillity of nature, it can temper stress. It’s space gives also the opportunity to exercise. This is especially important for children. According to a British survey these days they spend just half the time playing outside in nature compared to their parents (Guardian, 2016). They prefer to play videogames inside, generally speaking. The Nature Deficit Disorder, a concept coined by Louv (2005) describes how particularly children can get mental illnesses because they lack connection with nature. It is not an official recognised disorder by psychologists, but many researchers proved a lacking connection with nature can be damaging to our wellbeing.
Genetically we are still hunters and gatherers who lived with nature, instead of next to nature. We are nature, seen from a physical perspective. But mentally we are now far detached from nature, with our phones and iPads ‘glued’ to our hands. The European Day of Parks promotes to re-establish the connection between humans and nature, and the beauty of the latter.
We can help nature too
As mentioned above, nature is in favour of humanity. Mother Earth gives us oxygen, takes out the emitted carbon dioxide from the air and provides us stress-relieving natural beauty. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something for her in exchange? You can start with just celebrate nature at May the 24th. Go into the forest, don’t litter it and enjoy!
The federation is a ngo legal entity, it is one of europes largest network and has members in 35 counties.
Entin, E (2011). All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed. The Atlantic. Link: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/10/all-work-and-no-play-why-your-kids-are-more-anxious-depressed/246422/