NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Health and Welfare Dr. Michael Darville has highlighted the growing body of evidence suggesting that access to nature can aid healing for sick and stressed populations when donating at Aquinas College last week.
Darville addressed the students at the donation of a greenhouse in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources during the school’s celebration of World Health Day on Friday.
Highlighting the World Health Day theme “Our Planet, Our Health”, the Minister said that engagement with the environment has always been seen as a local application for good health, but the scientific community points to the increase in data that presents nature as an under-recognized healer. able to help reduce depression, stress, high blood pressure and obesity, and improve the general well-being of children and adults.
He continued, “The direct correlation between well-being and the environment means that we need to protect our environment in order to support overall good health. I know I don’t have to tell you how quickly disease can spread in communities that are run down by uncontained waste and pollution; or how eating fruits and vegetables from your own garden is better than canned fruit loaded with unnatural sugars and preservatives. “
Darville said he was happy to hear that the donated greenhouse has been incorporated into Aquinas College’s curriculum and as part of the school’s environmental club. He also praised Aquinas for setting future goals for hosting farmers’ markets, exhibits and community events. He said these steps in the right direction represent initiatives that could be used as a model for other schools.
The minister stressed that young people are equal and fundamental partners in the government’s attempt to commend the school’s faculty and students for embracing technology to advance agricultural techniques and make a lasting impact on health and welfare, adding that the government manifesto found in the Blueprint for Change talks about revolutionizing healthcare, education, green economy, ensuring food security and agribusiness. Young people, he concluded, are in the process.