Health, well-being and business from nature

The public interest for the nature has recently increased and many people are seeking well-being in forests and parks. The HYPE project organized a seminar on 10th November 2020  about health, well-being and business from nature hosted by Lahti City Council (LADEC 2020). The event had the aim to promote well-being of nature and expand the knowledge about environment. The HYPE project is organized by the City of Lahti, LADEC and LAB University of Applied Sciences, aiming at the building Finnish-Japanese regional cooperation model in well-being and circular economy (LADEC 2020a). The event was in Finnish, aimed at local stakeholders of Päijät-Häme like regional entrepreneurs and interested citizens.  

Environment as a source of health  

Webinar started with the lecture by professor Liisa Tyrväinen from LUKE, discussing the benefits of regular walking in the forest and outlining major research questions and trends related to the investigation of positive forest influence the physical and mental health of the people (Tyrväinen 2020). Erja Rappe from Ikäinstituutti continued the topic about health effects by presenting the positive impacts of recreational forests for ageing group of population, improving their mental, physical, and social health. Walking in the forest helps to maintain cognitive health in good condition for this age group. (Rappe 2020.) 

Professor emeritus in allergology Tari Haahtela continued with presentation about planet’s health and two major problems of biodiversity loss and nitrogen increase, requiring more attention and actions to improve planet’s health. Moreover, he introduced the importance of the healthy environment for the benefits of humans’ overall health. (Haahtela 2020.)  Kimmo Saarinen presented examples of how allergies are responded at the national level and methods of reducing allergy occurrence among the population (Saarinen 2020). 

Picture 1. Forest has positive influence on the physical and mental health of the people. (Leinonen 2019).

Importance of childhood experiences 

A new section was opened with the current relationship between humans and forest. Riikka Puhakka from Helsinki University shared the examples of interaction of the forest with children and youth, outlining the challenge of children distancing from the forest if they were raised in the city. However, the kindergarten and primary education about the forest can change this dynamic to the positive health effects on children. (Puhakka 2020.) 

From the business perspective, Annikka Linninen talked about her experience as an entrepreneurial nature guide, establishing her own business of leading tourist groups through forests and national parks. However, COVID-19 pandemic also gave an impact to her work and number of clients coming from abroad. (Linninen 2020.) 

Salpausselkä geopark applying for the global geopark status 

Executive director Kati Komulainen from Geopark Salpausselkä introduced the concept of Geopark and aspirations of Päijät-Häme to achieve UNESCO status of a global geopark and current efforts done as well as how the Geopark influences the environmental education of different age groups living around the Geopark area (Komulainen 2020). Lastly, Aki Sinkkonen from Luonnonvarakeskus, introduced the idea that spending time in nature had a positive impact on the health of the children (Sinkkonen 2020).  

To sum up, forests can be a source of recreation, mental and physical health. However, contact with forest becomes weaker because younger population is growing away from it due to urbanization. As a solution, entrepreneurs can act as a bridge between people and forest and Geopark can bring the attractiveness to local nature resources in the region. 

Writers

Alexandra Maksheeva and Eeva Aarrevaara.  Eeva Aarrevaara works at the Faculty of Technology of LAB in HYPE project as a project manager. Alexandra Maksheeva works at the faculty of Technology of LAB in HYPE project as project coordinator. 

References  

Haahtela, T. 2020. Uusi käsite, planeetan terveys – miksi meidän kannattaa kiinnostua? Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:9d2dde8d-acbd-43a0-8bce-4cda7ff5b1fa#pageNum=1  

Komulainen, K. 2020. Salpausselkä Geopark luontomatkailun ja ulkona oppimisen toimintaympäristönä. Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:e561fe69-8cbe-4d82-9088-5462317e6445#pageNum=1  

Linninen, A. 2020. Luonnon terveysvaikutuksista potkua luontomatkailuyrittämiseen. Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:e561fe69-8cbe-4d82-9088-5462317e6445#pageNum=1  

Puhakka, R. 2020. Luonnosta hyvinvointia ja terveyttä lapsille ja nuorille. Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:62f60f1a-90b9-43c7-8b5d-a485f9b2a603#pageNum=1  

Rappe, J. 2020. Luonnosta voimavaroja vanhuuteen. Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:0e8ec095-bf33-4ab5-a0b1-46feda745a9b#pageNum=1  

Saarinen, K. 2020. Parempaa sietokykyä luonnosta. Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020.  

Sinkkonen, A. 2020. Luontokosketus vahvistaa lasten immuunijärjestelmää. Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:e561fe69-8cbe-4d82-9088-5462317e6445#pageNum=1  

Tyrväinen, L. 2020. Mitä tutkimustietoa meillä on metsien terveyshyödyistä? Presentation at Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoimintaa –webinar 10.11.2020. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:17bdb3cc-a670-4414-aec8-c4ca95586145#pageNum=1 

Links 

LADEC. 2020. Luonnosta terveyttä, hyvinvointia ja liiketoiminta. [Cited 10 Dec 2020]. Available at: https://www.ladec.fi/tapahtumat/luonnosta-terveytta-ja-hyvinvointia 

LADEC. 2021. Hyvinvointi ja puhdas elinympäristö (HYPE) – suomalais-japanilaisten yhteistyömallien kehittäminen Aasian markkinalla. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://www.ladec.fi/ladec/hankkeet/hanke/hyvinvointi-ja-puhdas-elinymparisto-hype-suomalais-japanilaisten-yhteistyomallien-kehittaminen-aasian-markkinalla  

LUKE. 2016.  Natural Resources Institute Finland promotes bioeconomy and sustainable use of natural resources. [Cited 10 Dec 2020]. Available at: https://www.luke.fi/en/ 

Ikäinstituutti. 2016. Action for good ageing. [Cited 10 Dec 2020]. Available at: https://www.ikainstituutti.fi/in-english/  

Pictures 

IMAGE 1. Teemu Leinonen. 2019. LUT. [Cited 3 May 2021]. Available at: https://lut.pictures.fi/kuvat/LUT+Press+Images/Nature+&+City/Winter/kutilanlahti-luonto-33.jpg 

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