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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Justice in access to the outdoors


Nature is an established social determinant of health with clear benefits to physical, mental, and social health, yet it continues to be used as a setting for violence against Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The right to be physically active outdoors, to play, and to gather in community is essential for health and well-being, and as such, the ongoing incidents of violence outdoors have the potential to widen the health disparities gap. While the movement to bring nature and health together has gained traction, this movement cannot succeed unless violence against communities of color outdoors ends. Health professional organizations who have been vocal about the impact of racism on health need to take measures to ensure safe access for all is prioritized and achieved in the outdoors. We offer a set of recommendations for health professionals and health organizations to enact measures that that ensure our work is better justice-aligned in nature.

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