4.1.4 the importance of healthy outdoor environments for individual physical and emotional wellbeing, and for the future of society
Key Skill • analyse the importance of healthy outdoor environments for individuals and society
Resources • Text pp 257 - 264 • http://www.hphpcentral.com/
Importance for individuals & society of healthy OE for: • Aesthetic value • Recreation & adventure • Physical & emotional wellbeing • Intrinsic value • Maintenance of environmental stability • Education • Economic value • Future food and medicinal value • Scientific research
The OE provides inspiration to people in many ways. Artists feature various outdoor environments in their work; they draw on the mountains, beaches, lakes, trees, flowers, the sky and clouds to create paintings, drawings and sculptures. Musicians feature stories about natural places in their lyrics and likewise with poets in their poems. Melodies, rhythms and even musical instruments can also be inspired from the outdoors.
Aesthetic value • Aesthetic is a value judgment based on appearance and emotional response. • Aesthetic value can refer to the ability of OE to inspire creativity.
Many local people in Mallacoota visit Bastion Point regularly to.............. • Generations of families have camped on the foreshore of Mallacoota's bottom lake because................... • Henry Lawson visited Lakeview (the original Mallacoota) and he was inspired to write poetry most notably .................... • Many artists live in Mallacoota and are inspired to produce art from the inspiration of OE, for example....................
Describe a recreational activity in OE that is important to you and why? • What attracts tourists to Mallacoota?
Recreation & adventure • People needs places to enjoy OE and also to remove themselves from pressures from everyday life • People feel a need to connect with nature/natural environments • OE provide opportunities for individuals to undertake recreation, (such as bushwalking, surfing) to find adventure, take risks, to immerse themselves in nature. • It's important for many people to enjoy some time being in nature rather than in highly modified and controlled built/urban environments. • OE are important places for people to relax, exercise and to pursue physical and mental challenges away from the pressures of the human settlements. • They are also places for solitude and non-destructive adventures (such as whitewater rafting, canoeing or trekking).
Croajingolong National Park is an example of a healthy outdoor environment which provides both passive and active recreation for people in a remote coastal setting far from the pressures of urban areas. This includes bushwalking, kayaking, mountain biking, snorkelling, fishing and bird watching
Physical & emotional wellbeing • There are many reasons why spending time in nature is good for your mind, body and soul. • Passive or active recreational activities in OE can positively impact a person’s physical & emotional wellbeing • Access to nature plays a vital role in human health, wellbeing & development
Nature helps us be active, within parks, people tend to be more physically active - on tracks, playgrounds and at sports facilities. The many benefits of exercise and physical activity are now well documented. • Green’ exercise is better for you than exercising in the gym. Numerous studies have found that exercising outside in a natural setting – ‘green’ exercise – is better than exercising indoors. • Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail or other green space will benefit mental health. • Nature is great for kids. In natural environments, children use natural materials (flowers, sticks, stones etc) for long periods of imaginary play. Imaginary play has been shown to help children develop social and cognitive skills. • Nature helps with healthy ageing. As well as providing the opportunity for physical activity, contact with plants can be used therapeutically and helps people recover from the stress and strain of everyday living. Gardening has been found to strengthen muscles, improve mobility and flexibility, and can help reduce osteoporosis and even reduce the likelihood of dementia. • Nature helps our mental health. Contact with nature improves self-awareness, self esteem, self concept and positively effects mood. Contact with nature is effective in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, tension, headaches and even indigestion. • Nature helps us heal. Studies have demonstrated that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows, even a photograph of a natural scene will help them recover quicker than if they are simply staring at a blank wall.
Intrinsic value • Outdoor Environments exist and have a value in their own right to exist, which is not dependent on human use. • The right to exist in and of itself is described as its intrinsic value. • National Parks, marine parks and other reserves are declared in part to protect intrinsic values. • People do value outdoor environments and wilderness that exists, even if they never visit it, for example the SW wilderness of Tasmania and the Australian Outback. Wilderness is something we are proud of and it is valued for its flora, fauna and ecosystems. • Natural environments have a right to exist without having to be seen as a resource for humans. Many people are happy to know that wilderness areas and other natural environments exist without ever visiting them because they recognise their importance for the plants and animals that are part of those natural environments.
Many people value the environment for nothing more than what it is and do not see it as a resource to be exploited. They enjoy knowing that there are pristine areas of nature out there because they understand the importance of the plants and animals that exist and the unique ecosystems they consist of. • Biophiliais an innate need for nature and this hypothesis suggests that all human beings continue to rely intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually on our affiliations with nature. • Indigenous Australians are people who rely on the environment for spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing. • Heritage listings and National Parks acknowledge our intrinsic value of the environment. By recognising that these areas are unique and special for various reasons, they are able to be better protected. For example, there are rules created around the conservation of National Parks in Australia
Maintenance of environmental stability • The ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment • Biodiversity contributes to the sustainability and resilience of OE, & it is essential for the survival of life. (Austhas high levels of biodiversity representing an estimated 10% of the species on Earth)
Biodiversity is the variety of living organisms in an area, and can be considered on three levels ??? • Genetic diversity • Genetic diversity is the variety of genes within a species. Each species is made up of individuals that have their own particular genetic composition. This means a species may have different populations, each having different genetic compositions. • To conserve genetic diversity, different populations of a species must be conserved. Genetic diversity is difficult for us to measure. In humans, we can see genetic diversity when we see the physical differences between individuals, but for plants and animals this is hard to determine simply by looking. • A simple way of assessing the genetic diversity of a species is to look at how isolated individuals of a species are from other individuals – genetic diversity will tend to be higher in populations that are large and less isolated. • Species diversity • Species diversity is the variety of species within a habitat or a region. Some habitats, such as rainforests and coral reefs, have many species. Others, such as salt flats or a polluted stream, have fewer. • In Australia, more than 80% of plant and animal species are endemic, which means that they only occur naturally in Australia. We can measure species diversity by literally counting species – both the numbers of different species in an environment, and the numbers of individuals of each species. • For Outdoor and Environmental Studies, we can observe the variety of plants, and look at key animal indicators – birds, animal tracks, scats, possible habitats, and so on • Ecosystem diversity • Ecosystem diversity is the variety of ecosystems and ecological processes found in a given place. An ecosystem is a community of organisms and their physical environment interacting together. An ecosystem can cover a large area, such as a whole forest, or a small area, such as a pond. Ecosystem diversity is also difficult to easily measure – it often depends on large areas. Typically, large wilderness areas will be higher in ecosystem diversity.
Agriculture is based on selective breeding of a small number of plants and animals - are farms resilient ecosystems?
Biodiversity is….. • an essential element for sustainability of humans & healthy OE • 4 major reasons for maintaining biodiversity: • All species have a right to exist • Species reduction reduces human experience. The aesthetic value of biodiversity lies in the beauty, symbolism & intrinsic worth of species • Many species may be found in the future to have new and valuable properties for food & medicine • Ecological values (living organisms provide the life support systems of our planet, by maintaining the atmosphere, cycling nutrients, providing food, controlling pests, and providing a genetic store for future solutions) • Also we are interdependent on species in direct and indirect ways for food, air and water
Diverse ecosystems are more healthy, more resilient, and more stable. • They are better able to cope with environmental stress, disruption and change. • Diverse ecosystems have the ability to restore and reconstruct their structure and function following human induced stress. • Reduced biodiversity results in ecosystems that are susceptible to environmental change. • Biodiversity contributes to resilience and the ability to adapt to change. • A diversity of genes provides greater opportunities for a species to adapt and survive change
Education The environment is important for education because people need to learn about nature to help understand the world and how it works. Outdoor education would also not exist without the use of healthy environments to promote learning. It facilitates relationships between people and natural areas and this is important in creating individuals who value the environment and will fight to protect it in the future.
OE are important for education. Education within or about OE is important for individuals (and the future of Society), it helps people connect and understand the natural environment. • Some school groups come to Mallacoota to go bushwalking in its OE, or to do to camp. • Outdoor environments are places where learning happens. People want and need to learn about nature ‘to understand the world and how it works’ from scientific, historical, geographic and cultural perspectives. • This can happen through schools and other educational groups visiting an area, but learning can also occur through people visiting an area either directly (for example as tourists) or indirectly (for example through watching documentaries). The popularity of nature programs on television and of (eco)tourism in world heritage areas and national parks indicates the high educational value of natural environments.
Nearly all of the resources we use in daily life come directly or indirectly from the environment; clean water, timber, foods (meats, sea foods and plants) minerals and electricity are just some examples of this. • Without these simple resources, our lives would be significantly altered. For example, coal is a non-renewable energy source used to create electricity. If coal runs out, the amount of electricity able to be generated will be significantly reduced and this will affect the way in which people live their lives. This is why renewable energy sources are so important in society today and individuals who choose to use solar power for example, are thinking for the future of our environment. • The environment also provides jobs to many people in society. Those who make a living by farming the land, who work in outdoor education centres or camps, or work as a park ranger or with native animals, all require the environment to be healthy for their work to be sustained.
Economic value • Our natural resources come from OEs. We rely on these resources for our survival and our quality of life. • OEs have economic values as resources which provide for human needs. They are exploited for their timber, plants and animals, rocks and minerals, and for their pharmaceutical and other medicinal potentialities (e.g. eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and kelp). They are also the source for clean water for urban areas (i.e. as water catchments), for electricity generation (hydro or tidal), and for tourism (including ecotourism). • The coastal reefs around Mallacoota support healthy populations of abalone that are harvested by licensed divers. This resource provides important jobs and incomes for Mallacoota. • The state forests around Mallacoota are an important timber resource that provide logs to sawmills for producing timber products and wood chips for Eden (used for mulch and for paper production in Japan).
Future food and medicines • Outdoor environments are the original source of all human foods. • As some foods become scarce the environment is further explored for alternatives (e.g. deep sea fishing has developed as other fish supplies have become exhausted). • Future food sources could include algae, or insects • Enormous untapped potential in plants for medicines
Scientific research • We still do not know everything about every species. Indeed new species, and interrelationships between species, are being ‘discovered’ all the time. • The gene pool of natural environments is an important resource in addressing diseases (both plant and animal). We need natural environments for comparison with similar but disturbed environments to monitor the extent of the impact of the disturbances (e.g. pollution in streams, soil erosion, species migration or extinction, salinity). • Scientific research in OE can also have economic value through the discovery of new food sources or pharmaceuticals in natural environments. • Healthy Outdoor Environments provide a reference point to monitor and assess changes in more modified environments. • For instance comparing healthy OE to salinity effected environments has helped scientists and managers to understand the role and process of vegetation removal in rising water tables. • The Nadgee Nature Reserve is situated between Croajingalong National Park and Ben Boyd National Park. • "Nature reserves are valuable refuge areas, where natural processes, phenomena and wildlife can be studied. They differ from national parks which include as a major objective the provision of appropriate recreation opportunities."