A Public Health Imperative

It’s the rich mix of plants, animals, forests, wetlands, lakes, rivers, birds and many other forms of life that make up our earth.

is all the different aspects
of our natural world.
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Biodiversity is also all about how we, ourselves, are connected to our natural world. Ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, lakes and rivers, soil, plants and animals support our own health.

Nature provides us with clean air and water, food, medicines, opportunities for physical activity and more chances for social interaction.

Better air quality, cooler temperatures and outdoor activities help to reduce cardiopulmonary diseases, asthma, diabetes, anxiety and depression. Healthy water and soil resources ensure we have safe drinking water and healthy food supplies.

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We need to:

We can turn things around.
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You can learn more about the essential public health benefits provided by biodiversity in a new report from EcoHealth Ontario
Let’s get to work.
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Biodiversity is the variety of Life on Earth, from the tiniest insect to a vast northern forest and even the Great Lakes

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Biodiversity is threatened by population growth and sprawl, climate change, pollution and unsustainable natural resource use.

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An Ontario Biodiversity Council Survey in 2016 says that 73% of Ontarians say that biodiversity plays an important role in their health & well-being

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Top 3 biodiversity benefits picked by Ontarians:

Clean Air & Water

Availability of Food

Improved Physical and Mental Health From Outdoor Experiences

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Human health benefits from biodiversity:
We rely on healthy lakes, rivers and ground water sources for drinking water
Healthy soils provide us with food
Being active outside on trails and in nature is good for us, physically and mentally
Natural systems like forests and wetlands help to mitigate and reduce climate change impacts by storing carbon, reducing smog and cooling the air
Nature provides habitat for pollinators, fish, birds and wildlife which we rely on
Green spaces reduce risk factors for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases
Indigenous nations rely on native species for medicines, socio-cultural traditions and other local practices
Nature helps us to relax, grow emotionally, and connect with something larger than ourselves

Conserving Biodiversity isn’t just a nice thing to do – it’s a public health imperative!

Together we can engage people, reduce threats, enhance resilience and improve knowledge.

Working in the environmental sector?

Here are 5 things you can do:

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Build resilience into our ecosystems by conserving biodiversity through smarter land use practices, watershed management programs and climate change strategies
Using stewardship practices, ensure healthy soils for diverse soil and food crops
Work together to advocate for investments, programs and policies that protect and strengthen biodiversity
Preserve and protect native species and in doing so, also support the call from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee for fostering improved socio-cultural relationships, health equity and connections to place
Share information online and on social media platforms

And we can give ourselves a health boost by Stepping Out Into Nature