Are connected communities good for the environment?

Getting people together in the great outdoors

  • Fri 12 Nov 21

    11:00 - 16:00

  • Off Campus

    First Site

  • Event type

    Workshops, training and support
    Festival of Social Sciences 2021

  • Event organiser

    Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Contact details

    Professor Gina Reinhardt

Getting outdoors is vital for a healthy and happy life. Research supports the links between nature and health. It’s time to ask ourselves – If it’s good for us, is it good for the environment?

If you found yourself looking for things to do outdoors during the pandemic and lockdown, you were not alone. Did you step outside to try to stop feeling isolated or lonely, and end up discovering new places to walk and appreciate nature?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many more households across the country used outdoor spaces to enjoy nature, and web traffic increased to find out about what do outdoors. People flocked to green spaces to meet friends and neighbours in line with government guidelines. While projects such as Connected Communities show that this has been good for our own health, we also need to consider how wildlife and greenspaces have coped with this increased interest. Do we care more about conservation the more we use it? Or do our needs cloud our view of what is good for wildlife? 

Join our event on Friday 12 November at Firstsite, where you can learn about our Connected Communities project and the environment. Come and go as you please from 11am to 4pm, as we explore the potential benefits and consequences of the increased interest in nature inspired during lockdown by discussing these issues through group activities and with experts. Together we will explore topics such as: 

  • How we feel about nature and climate change
  • How we use the green spaces in our area and what we do there
  • How being in nature affects social issues like isolation and loneliness
  • How the great outdoors can be protected and promoted by public policies 

Activities you can take part in include:

  • The chance to join us for a walk in nearby Castle Park (Leaving Firstsite at 13:30)
  • Discussions with green social prescribers from the East of England about how their work and environmental awareness fit together.
  • Opportunities to sign up to green social prescribing schemes or other ways to help to tackle loneliness/isolation for yourself or your loved ones.  

The day’s events are led by Professor Gina Yannitell Reinhardt from the Department of Government at the University of Essex and will include complimentary refreshments. If you need help with transport costs in order to come to this event please contact us. This event is part of the nationwide Festival Of Social Science, it is open to the public and completely free of charge.