It is widely documented that mental health is affected by a complex interplay of genetic, psychological, social / lifestyle factors, and environmental exposures. In recent years evidence of the environmental determinants of mental health has grown, yet these emerging concerns are often under the radar in the third sector.
When coronavirus hit, like many other organisations working in the sector, we were determined not to let it stall the momentum for action on climate change that has been built in the last year. We know there is no silver lining to coronavirus. But we also recognise the pandemic represents an utterly unprecedented global ‘moment of change’, in which the regular patterns of hundreds of millions of people’s lives have been forcefully interrupted, not just as individuals but as part of local and global communities. Capturing this moment provides an opportunity to create a domino effect of climate-positive behaviours in communities across the UK, writes Patrik Ewe from Possible.
How can we communicate about the ocean effectively in a COVID-19 world? It is a question that many members of the Marine CoLABoration, a network of ocean-interested organisations funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, have grappled with since the start of the pandemic. There have been difficult conversations over the need to communicate sensitively, while also protecting the hard-won gains that have been made in recent years and continuing to progress forwards. Natalie Hart from the Marine CoLAB explores how we can push for meaningful change, but do so in a way that does not cause harm.
Whitley Fund for Nature supports grassroots conservation leaders in the Global South, for whom the effects of the pandemic have been profound. Across our network of over 200 conservationists in more than 80 countries, many are facing delays to urgent projects, reduced income from livelihoods based on ecotourism, or an increase in harmful activities by people who are struggling to survive. But our winners never cease to inspire us with their ability to adapt to challenging circumstances, writes Amy Forshaw from Whitley Fund for Nature.
COVID-19 is a reminder of the strength of communities, the effectiveness of collective action, the power of empathy. Can we harness these positives to begin to change the stories we tell ourselves about our place in the world? Can it be the catalyst for us to begin to address the inequalities in our relationships, both among our own communities, and with the natural world around us? This pandemic may just have given us an unexpected window of opportunity to reconsider the path we are on and the motivation to help us change course, writes Jim Pettiward from Synchronicity Earth.
Funding to save the natural world is dwarfed by spending on other sectors, and the dearth of funding on the environment could become even worse as a result of COVID-19. Yet the lockdown has demonstrated how vital nature is for our mental and physical wellbeing, and the critical need for long-term support to ensure the health and vitality of our precious green spaces - for the climate, for nature and for people. Beccy Speight from RSPB tells us about the challenges they are facing, the opportunities they are seizing and what funders can do to help.
With regionally-based programmes around the world, Fauna & Flora International has seen COVID-19 play out in very different ways, which have presented differing challenges affecting both people and wildlife. In this blog, Dr Abigail Entwistle describes how these challenges are impacting operations across their global programmes and with local partners, and the ambitious steps they are taking to respond with the help of their funders.
How are grassroots climate initiatives around the world turning the significant challenges brought by COVID-19 into unprecedented opportunities to advance the climate movement? Eva Rehse and Jasleen Mahal present insights from partners across the Global Greengrants Fund network, who have identified three key ways funders can provide much-needed support; and bring hope that the pandemic might just have given us the best chance we will have to turn things around - for both people and planet.
Across the world, life as we know it was turned on its head these past few months. Unforeseen and previously unimaginable changes were required of us and by and large, we demonstrated our tremendous capacity to adapt.
The tragedy is global and profound, and we will continue to feel its aftereffects for some time to come. However, the situation also provided the impetus for some profound rethinking and I have seen some positive outcomes. At the same time, we need to rethink our relationship with nature and come to an understanding of the linkages between health and nature.
This blog talks about the rethinking we are seeing, MAVA’s response to the crisis, and what we need to do to ensure a healthier relationship with nature.