We have heard from community members about how spending time in nature during this last year and a half saved their well-being, both physically and mentally.
Staying safe during the pandemic meant restricting the time we spent together. We have heard about how excited community members are about getting back outside with family and friends, meeting on trails and in parks, and enjoying overdue gatherings at local picnic tables. We are, too! We have also heard that people are ready to get back to normal.
Getting back outside and enjoying NATURE? Yes!
Getting back to normal? Hold on.
The global pandemic and resulting economic crisis endured by COVID-19 has made evident the deep racial and economic inequities that persist in every aspect of life. For millions of Californians who have sheltered in place over the last year, nature and parks have provided a space to get fresh air, exercise, support their mental health, and meet with loved ones. Access to nature has taken on a renewed importance; it plays a critical role in reducing the chronic health problems that put people at increased risk of serious complications or death from COVID-19, and it provides invaluable spaces for residents to stay healthy and active. We understand the feeling of relief as the pandemic slows down. But let’s take a moment to consider “getting back to normal.”
This was — and still is — normal:
- 50% of Los Angeles County residents live in park-poor neighborhoods
- Millions of urban LA County residents are without backyards, vehicles, or nearby parks, and lack access to nature
- The Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains National Monument provides 70% of LA County’s open space, yet there are no public transit routes into these public lands
- Racial and income inequity determines who has greater opportunities for outdoor recreation, park space, clean air, environmental education/careers, and life expectancy
Together, we have an opportunity to correct these environmental injustices and to serve our communities. The pandemic has made clear just how wide the divide is between those who have access to nature and those who do not. Getting outside is essential, but “getting back to normal” is not good enough.
Now that things are opening up, let’s ensure all our community members have equitable access to nature’s life-changing benefits. We have recommitted to our mission to provide nature for all by expanding our programs and projects. With your support, we can:
- Train more community members and youth to become environmental stewards and leaders
- Protect our public lands and natural resources, and fight climate change for this and future generations
- Work to connect more people to our public lands and open spaces via transit-to-trails and park initiatives
- Create more opportunities for community members to learn more about their local parks, trails and connections
Like many community-based organizations, COVID-19 hit us hard; we lost grant opportunities and had to cancel all in-person community events. But Nature for All’s passionate staff responded quickly by shifting online to continue our vital work with our community. We’re proud of the series of informative Zoom sessions we presented about nature and the benefits it brings.
Getting back outside and enjoying nature needs to be something we are ALL able to do. Can we count on your support to continue to fulfill our mission? Please donate today!