The direct relation between human wellness and the environment means that the environment plays a major role in influencing well-being. People establish their state of well-being according to the environment in which they live in. Living in an environment with more green spaces is often linked to a higher level of well-being and improved physical activity, reduced air pollution and also more recreational activities.
The recent Maltese conference related to environmental health and well-being, was held on Wednesday 5th April 2017, based on the influences that the environment has on human health. Issues such as pollution, climate change and the connection to nature are crucial aspects that must be considered. Environmental well-being refers to the awareness of the interactions between the environment, local communities and human activities. One way to achieve environmental wellness is through responsibility, such as by being aware of natural resources, considering both the present and the future, etc…
The high population density, low natural resources, large number of vehicles and associated threats of pollution are particularly relevant to the Maltese Islands. Air pollution, noise pollution and environmental degradation, related to urbanisation and other human activities, are major causes of negative health impacts. Long-scale changes such as climate change and biodiversity losses have wide-ranging and irreversible effects on human health and well-being. The presence of green countryside spaces means that the environment can be appreciated by human populations. In turn, those in good health have a larger likelihood to look after and protect the environment. The presence of The Cliffs Interpretation Centre in the middle of the largest Special Area of Conservation, continues to promote the idea of green countryside spaces, characterised by a wide variety of landscapes, ranging from cliffs, plateaux, agricultural land and more. The free tours offered by The Cliffs Interpretation Centre, updated throughout the years, focus on delivering a recreational and informative way of discovering the area of Dingli Cliffs, whilst walking along The Cliffs Trail.
Ultimately, human health and well-being depend on well‑functioning ecosystems and the way that natural resources are used. Since there is interaction between the environment and well-being, it is important to consider them together – hence, a change in our mind-set is required for a positive way forward.