Good reads


Ecoliterate: How educators are cultivating emotional, social, and ecological intelligence

Goleman, D., Bennett, L., & Barlow, Z. (2012). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Hopeful, eloquent and bold, Ecoliterate offers inspiring stories, practical guidance and an exciting new model of education that builds, in vitally important ways, on the success of social and emotional learning by addressing today's most important ecological issues. Read Rachel Barker's review


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The nature of wellbeing: How nature’s ecosystems services contribute to the wellbeing of New Zealand and New Zealanders

Roberts, L., et al. (2015). Wellington: Department of Conservation.

The evidence assembled in this report demonstrates that the ecosystem services that are delivered by our indigenous biodiversity and natural landscapes contribute in a very wide variety of ways to the wellbeing of New Zealand and New Zealanders. 


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Psychology for a better world: Strategies to inspire sustainability

Narre, N. (2011).

Psychology for a Better World is for people who believe it is worth trying to make a world in which animal and human species and the ecological systems can flourish. The book is based on the latest research in psychology and is jam packed with action strategies. The final chapter is a guide to help you analyse what you are doing to contribute towards a better world, and how you can be more effective while simultaneously increasing your personal wellbeing. Radio New Zealand interview. Read Hugh Norriss's review


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Claim your wildness: And let nature nurture your health and wellbeing

Higgins, L. Dr. (2013, September). Vivid Publishing. 

Claim Your Wildness is essential reading for everyone interested in the contribution nature can make to their physical, mental and social wellbeing. It will be especially welcomed by parents, teachers and others concerned about children’s declining exposure to the natural world. Written by Dr Les Higgins, a health educator and researcher with extensive experience in bush walking and other outdoor activities, the book blends science, personal observation and experience to explain why we need to have regular contact with nature. 


How to get kids offline 

How to get kids offline, outdoors, and connecting with nature: 200+ Creative activities to encourage self-esteem, mindfulness, and wellbeing

Thomas, B. (2014). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Full of ideas, activities and exercises, this book provides imaginative ways to inspire young people to put down the computer games, disconnect from social media, and spend more time away from a screen. In an increasingly electronic world, creating enthusiasm for the great outdoors can seem an impossible task. Yet, the benefits of nature are endless, and they extend further than just improving physical health; being in natural surroundings is also an effective way to boost imagination, creativity and overall wellbeing. Read Carol's review


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Landscape and urban design for health and wellbeing: Using healing, sensory and therapeutic gardens

Souter-Brown, Gayle. (2014). Routledge.

Gayle Souter-Brown is founder and director of Greenstone Design UK Ltd, salutogenic landscape and urban design consultants. Her research interests in design for health and wellbeing follow years working with disabled adults and children. With 25 years of international experience she lectures, writes and designs from UK and New Zealand. Read Margaret Wikaire's review

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An ecology of happiness

Lambin, E. (2012). University Of Chicago Press.

Eric Lambin emphatically uses a very different strategy in addressing environmental concerns, he asks readers to consider that there may be no better reason to value and protect the health of the planet than for your own personal wellbeing. In this clever and wide-ranging work, Lambin draws on new scientific evidence in the fields of geography, political ecology, environmental psychology, urban studies, and disease ecology, among others, to answer such questions. Read Rachel Barker's review

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Te Taiao Maori and the natural world

(2011). Te Ara - Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

In traditional Maori knowledge, the weather, birds, fish and trees, sun and moon are related to each other, and to the people of the land, the tangata whenua. It is truly an interconnected world – a vast family of which humans are children of the earth and sky, and cousins to all living things. In this richly illustrated book, Maori scholars and writers share the traditional knowledge passed down the generations by word of mouth. It provides a unique window on the relationship of the people of the land with their environment, as well as the profound knowledge and necessary skills they needed to survive here. Read Katherine Morris's review


ecominds feel better outside 

Feel better outside feel better inside: Ecotherapy for mental wellbeing, resilience and recovery

(2013). UK: Ecominds and Mind.

This report sets out how ecotherapy can be used by health, social care and public health professionals to improve health and wellbeing.


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Unseen city: The majesty of pigeons, the discreet charm of snails & other wonders of the urban wilderness

Johnson, N. (2016). US: Rodale Books.

It all started with Nathanael Johnson’s decision to teach his daughter the name of every tree they passed on their walk to day care in San Francisco. This project turned into a quest to discover the secrets of the neighborhood’s flora and fauna. Johnson argues that learning to see the world afresh, like a child, shifts the way we think about nature: Instead of something distant and abstract, nature becomes real – this shift can add tremendous value to our lives. 


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Happy City - transforming our lives through urban design

Mongomery, C. (2014) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Can cities be engines of happiness and not just for the convenience of commerce? What if designers and policy-makers focused their outcomes on achieving the wellbeing of the people who live, work and play in their cities? These are the big questions that Charles Montgomery wrestles with in Happy City. Read Ciaran Fox's review




The 5 natural ways

Five natural ways to wellbeing


Me Whakawhanaunga 

Connecting with nature is great for you! The beauty is in how simple it can be. Remember if you can’t get outside, you can always bring the outdoors in.


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Nature provides, it gives everything needed to not only survive, but thrive. Here’s some cool ways you can give back to nature:


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Take notice

 Me aro tonu

It's common to go about your daily life, oblivious to your natural environment. Take some time to be mindful of what’s happening around you.


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Keep learning

Me ako tonu

There’s always something new to learn and discover when you interact with nature:


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Be active

Me kori tonu

Getting outside exposure and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing, plus it strengthens you connection with nature:


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