Advocating for Access to Nature

Nature for All - Atlanta

Advancing the vision of an Atlanta with a protected tree canopy and residents with equitable access to an interconnected network of parks, greenspaces, urban forests, and trails.

Over the next 20 years, Atlanta faces significant challenges: a growing population, tensions between new development and the need to preserve trees and urban greenspaces, and climate change. As the city grows denser, articulating and implementing a strong city planning framework that prioritizes nature is critical to Atlanta’s future livability and the health and happiness of residents.

Children play in the old-growth forest of Briarlake Forest Park, 2016
Children play in the old-growth forest of Briarlake Forest Park, 2016

 

Nature for All – Atlanta

Throughout 2020, Park Pride, Trees Atlanta, and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance –with generous support from the Turner Foundation–will champion an initiative called Nature for All – Atlanta. Through education, engagement, empowerment, and advocacy, Nature for All – Atlanta will:

  1. Rally Atlantans and create a coalition of partners around the Urban Ecology Framework and its values of Equity, Access, and Nature,
  2. Advance policies and plans that result in more equitable access to nature for residents across the city, and
  3. Educate and empower a new cohort of nature advocates in Atlanta.
Our vision is an Atlanta with a protected tree canopy and healthy residents with equitable access to an interconnected network of parks, greenspaces, urban forests, and trails.

 

Why Advocate for Nature in the City?

Because nature is good for people's health.

Studies show that time spent in nature, at a park, or on a trail is proven to improve health and well-being. Mental and physical health benefits include:

  • lowered stress,
  • lowered blood pressure,
  • improved mood and focus,
  • boosted immune system,
  • improved sleep,
  • increased energy levels,
  • more active lifestyles for both children and adults,
  • decreased risk of social isolation, and
  • and more!

Because everyone deserves access to nature.

The health and societal benefits of access to nature must be shared equitably across Atlanta’s diverse communities. Everyone—regardless of race, age, gender, socio-economic status or ability—deserves access to nature.

Because nature in Atlanta is at risk and must be protected and enhanced.

Parks are the crux of urban dwellers’ access to nature, whether it be via a wooded trail, stone steps across a babbling creek, a pollinator garden, or a perfectly placed bench under a shade tree. All children and adults deserve to have access to nature within walking distance of their home that they can visit regularly for their daily dose of nature.

However, with rampant development exploding across the City of Atlanta, we are at risk of losing our access to nature and the associated health benefits that can last a lifetime. Though trees clean the air and are the lungs of our city, Atlanta is currently losing trees faster than they’re replanted. Urban forests that are currently privately held are at risk of being bulldozed and developed unless a mechanism is put in place to purchase and protect them.