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challenges
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main challenge

How can we improve humans' health while taking better care of the planet?

Research shows that 43 % of diseases are more influenced by our lifestyle than biological factors, and in 19% of cases it has a lot to do with the environment. The same is true vice versa; exposure to nature has also many benefits for humans' health and well-being. So, how can we leverage existing data (and the current level of environmental consciousness) to help society adapt their lifestyle, their relationship with nature, and their consumption patterns to improve their health?

sub challenges

We have divided the relation between humans and the planet in three main layers, and each sub-challenge focuses on one of those layers, although we understand all of them to be deeply interconnected in order to foster real change.

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1) MY BODY: Interaction with nature

How can we make the most of nature's benefits for humans' health while becoming more respectful with the environment?

Context:

Being in contact with nature benefits our health, well-being and quality of life, just to name a few it can reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia, maintain cardiovascular health, benefit the immune system, among other physiological and psychological benefits. According to a study published by Nature, and it takes 120 minutes to get a dose of nature high enough to make people say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing

 

In addition, green spaces in cities also offer valuable ecosystem services for human health. Such as the mitigation of air pollution, the reduction of noise, an increase in biodiversity and the regulation of temperature mitigating the effects of heat island.

 

The motivation to protect the natural spaces of the planet should not only be to avoid the damage to our health caused by a deteriorated environment. Also safeguard the ecosystem services they provide and multiply the benefits they bring to human health.

Main benefits of being exposed to nature in human health:

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Links to read:

https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3

DKV current efforts/ related products:

> Dosis de Naturaleza (Nature's Dose): a pioneering digital tool to measure your exposure to green in the DKV QuieroCuidarme + app

2 publications that collect the current scientific evidence: Forest baths, a Health proposal (2017) and Prescribe Nature (2020)

> 100 routes in Wikiloc in natural areas of Spain where you can immerse yourself in nature

> Compilation of scientific articles for health professionals on the links between nature and health with ISGlobal, ICTA and CREAF

2) my home: consumption patterns and household habits

How can we be more responsible and measure the impact of our choices (food, clothes, etc) on our own health and the planet? How can we foster the adoption of better habits for households?

Context:

Consumption leads to the direct creation of environmental pressures from the use of products and services. Of greater magnitude, however, are the indirect pressures that are created along the production chains of the goods and services consumed, including, for example, food, clothing, furniture or electricity. Both direct and indirect pressures result in environmental impacts, in particular, global warming, biodiversity degradation, soil sealing and air and water pollution.

 

But it does not only affect the planet, it also affects human’s health. The exposome concept, coined by Christopher Wild in 2005, offers an innovative way of addressing the various environmental exposures that can be harmful to human health: addressing them all together rather than individually: be it pesticides, smoke, noise from car traffic, or just what is found inside a school classroom on any given day.

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Source:

The good news is that many exposures can be eliminated and that this can be done cost-effectively, protecting vulnerable populations and improving regulations regarding environmental hazards.

Links to read:

> https://www.isglobal.org/en/-/el-exposoma-comprendiendo-el-efecto-del-entorno-en-nuestra-salud

DKV current efforts/ related products:

> DKV EcoHome_ To reduce toxic chemicals, we only use eco-friendly paint in our home insurance repairs. We also make it easy to purchase houseplants, low toxicity cleaning detergents, and plant-based meat. Read more here: https://eng.dkv.es/particulares/dkv-ecohogar

> DKV EcoFuneral_ To reduce the environmental impact of our last footprint on the planet, we only use wood from certified farms, water-based varnishes, natural textiles, live plant ornaments, crematoriums with diozin filters, and hybrid or electric vehicles. And at the end of your life we plant a tree in your memory that restores a burned forest.

Read more here: https://eng.dkv.es/particulares/dkv-ecofuneral

3) my society: collective action

How can we foster collaboration between neighbours to improve the overall health of the local community and the environment in the short to mid-term?

Context:

Despite how much we individually change our consumption habits, One of the biggest challenges to addressing climate change is the lack of partnerships and collaborations. No single party can stop climate change, so collective action is required. Multi-stakeholder efforts need to be scaled up and co-ordinated to reinforce efforts. In this regard, the COP26 UN climate talks are the most important in six years and are the best chance for governments to inspire and enable global collaboration efforts with ambitious binding commitments. 

 

We need to mobilize the whole world, without excuses and without pretexts, use effective communication between environment, health and community, with clear messages, positive and empowering human diversity, seek effective solutions that integrate transversally the factors involved in climate change that impact on people's health. All together we can achieve it.

 

This collective action can start at a small scale, between neighbours, and grow to become a force of change.

Links to read:

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/10/05/the-world-needs-better-convening-that-fosters-collective-action/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCYAskmfeX4

DKV current efforts/ related products:

DKV intends to plant 1 million trees by 2030 to help mitigate the climate emergency. Restoring the Earth's forests and preserving existing ones can contribute to reducing accumulated CO2 in the atmosphere by more than 25% (IPCC, 2019). It is not only necessary to reduce and stop greenhouse gas emissions, but also to extract the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere to mitigate global warming.

Read more here: https://eng.dkv.es/corporativo/sostenibilidad/medioambiente/planeta-salud/un-millon-de-arboles