Wellbeing and prosperity for everyone through a healthy natural environment
All too often, talk about the environment is negative. We harm it. It harms us. For many, the environment is either a largely irrelevant backdrop to life, or a block on 'development'.
A positive vision
Our vision about the environment is positive. We think the natural environment can do much more for what concerns people and businesses. By this, we mean things like keeping healthy, building a sense of place and being resilient in the face of a changing climate.
We are working towards the time when a wide range of professionals are working to harness the true potential for the environment to support wellbeing and prosperity.
Our vision means taking decisions that reflect the true value of a healthy environment. Conservation and protection are important, but won't suffice.
A vision that includes you
Our vision is about the good the environment does for your local community, your organisation and your profession. We see ahead to a time when:
- Decisions affecting land and water will be based on a thorough understanding of all the benefits provided by healthy natural environments, from flood risk reduction to improved air quality.
- Long-term investment in the natural environment will be seen as making sense in all professions, from public health to real estate.
- Local communities are the heart of making informed decisions about environmental features that they, and others, depend on.
Our vision is about being people-centred and prudent in how we plan and manage the natural environment at every scale, from local to national. It involves thinking about the long-term consequences of decisions. It means working across traditional boundaries, whether these be administrative, social or natural (such as watersheds).
A realistic vision
We think twenty years is all that is needed for our vision to become reality. Here are some reasons why:
- The Ecosystems Knowledge Network membership includes innovators and influencers who are delivering projects that turn this vision into outcomes that people can see - see our case studies. All our members have different starting points - in planning, in finance, in forestry, in health; but show the value of joined-up, people-centred thinking about the environment.
- Government in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland has already provided some very forward-thinking public policy to support implementation of our vision. We are not short of good policy. However, we are short of know-how about what the policy means in practice within and beyond the environment sector.
- The UK is a world leader on the topic of what the environment does for society. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment, completed in 2014, was a world first in providing detailed evidence of nature's value to society.
We will have fulfilled our vision when the value of the environment is reflected in local and national decisions currently perceived to have little to do with it. For example:
- Organisations at the heart of the health system will be routinely partnering with those who control access to natural outdoor spaces, in order to deliver health outcomes.
- Planning for local economic growth will start with detailed consideration of the capacity of the natural environment to support new activity.
- From local parks to open landscapes, all parts of local communities will be at the centre of decisions to invest in the environment.
Make our vision your vision
Join the Ecosystems Knowledge Network so you can make our vision your vision. We are a unique award-winning resource for sharing knowledge about how to make our vision a reality. Tell us how you are working to apply our vision. Tell us if you would like help in knowing what it means for your work.
Consider asking your organisation to partner with us in our work as a registered charity. As an individual, why not donate to our work? With no core funding, we are entirely dependent on our members and partners for financial support. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org