Nature everywhere, for everyone
For 40 years Earth Trust has been providing and championing accessible green space and run inspiring, award-winning programmes to help people connect with nature through them. But it’s not enough.
The Nature For Everyone campaign aims to ensure that everyone, everywhere can access the benefits of nature.
We need a legal right to local nature
The pandemic lockdowns shone a harsh light on lack of equality of access to green spaces. For those of us with nature near our homes, our natural spaces proved an invaluable respite, and important place for socialising and exercising in lockdown. But the Covid-19 crisis also highlighted the inequalities in access to nature as never before with millions of people unable to access natural spaces locally.
One in three people don’t have nature near their home, with the poorest communities and people of colour twice as likely to live in nature-deprived areas. Where green spaces exist, many are not easily accessible particularly for those with mobility issues, disabilities or those facing wider societal barriers.
This lack of and deterioration in our public natural spaces means thousands of communities are missing out on the joys and health benefits of access to nature. A huge local authority funding gap is largely to blame, with an estimated £190 million lost from local authority parks budgets alone since 2016.
Empowering communities for greater connection to nature
During the pandemic, Earth Trust kept our green spaces open when many were closing their gates. We saw record numbers of visits to our green spaces (well over 200,000), providing much-needed space for health and wellbeing to many who were feeling the effects of isolation.
We continue to see a demand and need for access to green spaces, on a daily basis – not just our own and those we manage across the region, but through the constant interest and requests for support that we receive within communities, public settings and neighbourhoods.
People want and need access to natural green spaces. With this comes the requirement for the green spaces to be available, and for the infrastructure in place for them to be accessible, to welcome people and support their visits.
But, we also believe that, to ensure that accessibility is sustainable, we must empower and support greater community engagement and ownership in their green spaces. For communities to become empowered they need to be designing these spaces for themselves rather than just being consulted.
At Earth Trust, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure that not only are we caring for green spaces for everyone to access and enjoy, but that we’re working with communities to better understand and resolve how to bring the benefits of nature and the natural environment to everyone, where they live, work and play.
That’s why we’ve joined with more than 60 nature, health, planning and equality organisations to demand ‘a legal right to nature’ in upcoming Levelling Up legislation.
Help us show the Government we want access to nature in every neighbourhood
We’re asking the government to put a requirement in law for developers and public bodies to provide access to nature-rich green and blue spaces for everyone, and for the government to provide the funding to deliver this.
The government has promised that its “levelling up” agenda – will create equal opportunity and quality of life for everyone around the country. But this can only succeed if it includes levelling up access to nature.
If duties on developers and public bodies to bring nature to people’s doorsteps are included in new Levelling Up laws, we can help guarantee access to nature for all, and make important gains towards Government targets to restore our struggling wildlife.