Biodiversity and Human Health
2020 has been an interesting year for all of us.
How have you been taking care of your mental health? Have you taken advantage of the natural richness around Leuven or your hometown? Have you felt better when surrounded by nature?
Biodiversity plays a crucial role for our physical health and wellbeing, but it brings multiple benefits to our mental health as well. Through this webinar, we would like to spark a discussion around the following question:
“How can nature and biodiversity help us cope with Covid-19 and lockdown depression?”
Three speakers will discuss the linkages between biodiversity and human health from different angles and perspectives, helping us to have a more comprehensive understanding of the topic:
1. Victoria Reynal is a second-year student of the KU Leuven ICP Master of Science in Sustainable Development, currently doing her thesis research on forest bathing. She will give a general introduction on the nature-health issue, explaining its importance and her impressions as a researcher approaching the topic for the first time.
2. Dr. Raf Aerts is an associate professor of the Department of Biology at KU Leuven. His research focuses mainly on conservation, restoration and management of biodiversity, as well as ecosystem services and human health. Raf’s contribution will delve into the biodiversity-health link in Belgium, explaining how Covid-19 and lockdown have had an impact on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
3. Maximilian Nawrath is a PhD student at the University of Leeds and a postgraduate researcher at the Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds). His ongoing research project aims to assess potential benefits of urban nature to mental health and wellbeing in low- and middle-income countries, and to understand urban residents’ perceptions toward urban biodiversity in relation to their mental health and wellbeing.
There will be a 15-20 minute Q&A session at the end of the webinar, when you will have the chance to ask questions to our speakers and share your thoughts on the topic.
4:00 – 4:10 p.m. → introduction to the webinar and the speakers
4:10 – 4:25/30 p.m. → contribution by Victoria Reynal
4:30 – 4:45/50 p.m. → contribution by Raf Aerts
4:50 – 5:05/10 p.m. → contribution by Maximilian Nawrath
5:10 – 5:30 p.m. → Q&A session and end
The event will take place over zoom as well as live streamed via Facebook.