There are few things that unite people in the way conservation work does. Not only does the act of engaging in conservation work bring together individuals with similar environmental values and aspirations, but the results of conservation work can provide healthy green spaces for communities to enjoy. Here are some ways conservation work can create stronger, more united communities.
As Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to conservation work. From backyard trapping networks to farmers planting native trees along their waterways, community conservation efforts are key to combating New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis. Around two-thirds of our biodiversity sanctuaries are community led! While our individual efforts are invaluable, working together as a community can provide faster and more sustainable results.
There is a huge amount of research suggesting that there is a strong correlation between working as a team towards a common goal and increased mental well-being. In research conducted by psychologist Jonathan Haidt, it was found that “The most effective moral communities – from a well-being perspective – are those that offer occasional experiences in which self-consciousness is greatly reduced and one feels merged with or part of something greater than the self.”
Healthy Green Spaces
There is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that spending time in nature everyday is essential for both our mental and physical health. This is only possible if we all have access to healthy green spaces, and it’s especially important for those of us living in dense urban environments. The more time we spend outdoors, the more we want to care for it and look after it, which in turn makes us want to spend more time outdoors.
Many council owned green spaces offer volunteer programmes, allowing the community to get involved in conservation projects like planting trees, weeding and collecting rubbish. Not only does this give people a sense of purpose and social connection, but it allows volunteers to take guardianship over the land and in turn feel more connected to it.