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Deep powers of nature can help us through this crisis

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As concerns about the Covid-19 outbreak continue to affect populations around the world, parks, open spaces, and nature accessed safely and appropriately continue to act as resources for health and wellness. 

While traditionally parks have been viewed as places for sport and recreation, new scientific evidence points to a range of added benefits from being outdoors.

Many studies now demonstrate that simply being in green space can have a positive effect on our mental health. Just enjoying nature can help us relax, reduce our stress levels, and make us feel happier. According to a recent study published in the ‘International Journal of Environmental Health Research’, spending just 20 minutes in a park – even if you do not exercise while you are there – is enough to improve wellbeing.

Parks and open spaces – by providing opportunities for regaining our emotional, psychological and mental balance – have a key role to play in this current crisis.

As restrictions on movement lessen, outdoor space where people can safely enjoy nature will be of vital importance.

While the management of social distancing in outdoor space poses an unprecedented challenge, particularly in areas where there are deficits of public green spaces, the potential societal gain from this increased access is enormous and can lead to a new appreciation of the value of green areas.

Kevin J Halpenny

President, Irish Landscape Institute

 

Health insurance weigh-ins could reduce obesity issues

Charlie Weston (Irish Independent, May 13) gives salutary advice on why not to cancel your health insurance – reapplying is a problem, specifically for the over-35s and those with a pre-existing medical condition.

If they can apply this form of risk assessment, it should be applied across the board, as for life insurance, so that premiums can be adjusted for smoking and obesity.

In the same way that the automobile NCT concentrates the mind, a yearly weigh-in to fix the premium would go a long way to reducing the obesity epidemic.

Dr Michael Foley

Rathmines, Dublin 6

 

O’Doherty wide of the mark on economic fallout of virus

I was taken aback by Ian O’Doherty’s article (‘Enough is enough – we must get people back to work to end economic genocide’, Comment, May 12) that he ends with: “The ramifications of the Covid pandemic will be with us, perhaps, for a decade or more. There will be a second wave, of that there’s no doubt.”

It is either an off-the-cuff, thoughtless remark, or at worst – a cold, uncaring one.

Surely Ian can comprehend the serious threat to human life this pandemic is?

Some two years back, Christine Lagarde, as managing director of the IMF, issued a public statement encouraging governments to invest in infrastructure via loans from the World Bank.

She claimed the world banks were awash with trillions of dollars, euro, etc – that money is still there.

Unlike Ian, I don’t envisage a massive worldwide recession coming like a bombshell a la 1929. This economic drop is being managed by some governments injecting money into their economies.

Add in the fact that a majority of the workers will eventually return to their jobs, and the economy will slowly but surely begin to pick up.

The outcome of this pandemic is going to see massive change around the world.

From here on it’s a time for brilliant ideas to come to the fore. Human beings do matter.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Parental messages that made me laugh, giggle and cry

I just read John McKiernan’s piece (“If the shopping I deliver to my cocooning parents spoke, it would say ‘I love you’”, Comment, May 13) about shopping for his parents. It made me laugh out loud, giggle and cry.

Both of my parents passed away two years ago, but he could have been writing about them. I love that his dad waves without turning and there is always, but always, another message to go on. Thank you so much for all those memories – just lovely.

Toni Wymberry

Waterford

 

Unelected medical officer won’t tell me what to do

When will chief medical officer Tony Holohan be told he is not in charge of us Irish citizens? From where does he get the right to lecture airlines as to what he terms “non-essential travel” regarding foreign holidays? It’s time we took our lives back from unelected “officials”.

I resolve to do my own thing and to make, to best of my ability, my own mind up as to how I will proceed through the summer.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Irish Independent