Healthy people need a healthy environment : the Costa Rican experience

There is a clear interdependence between people and their environment. The diverse ecosystems provide to humans and other species goods and services necessary for their subsistence. The human body requires to ensure quality living soil to produce food, clean water, clean air, climate stability and healthy ecosystems that provide various goods and services to enable the development and welfare of society. The deterioration of ecosystems affects livelihoods, income, and local migration and causes socio-political conflicts. It impacts the economic and physical security, freedom, relationships, elections, health, welfare, quality of life and development of communities and individuals. This paper shows the experience of an interdisciplinary group of local public and private actors in the rehabilitation of a wetland ecosystem located in the upper area of the province of Heredia, Costa Rica. The initiative is pioneer in the country. It aims through an interdisciplinary work to promote the responsible use of resources provided by the ecosystem and to encourage the care and preservation of this space. The rehabilitation of the wetland “Monte de la Cruz “ is contributing to the welfare of the population of the province of Heredia, securing two key ecosystemic services : provision of potable water and cultural services (spaces for spirituality, recreation and education). Selected Key Words Communities and Environments Health Promotion Influence in health Key Messages 1.A healthy environment is necessary for human wellfare. 2.To be healthy humans need ecosystems that provide basic elements such as clean air, fresh water and natural espaces for recreation and spirituality 3.Interdisciplinary work as a tool to influence the social determinants of health.

Marcela Gutierrez