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The Land and Human Wellbeing

Professor Michael Winter gave a presentation at a conference organised by the Joint Rural Issues Group of the Dioceses of Exeter and of Truro, and the Methodist Districts of Cornwall and of Plymouth and Exeter.

Michael was one of three main speakers at the conference, entitled "The Earth is the Lord's", held at Bicton College on 1 May 2013.

Michael's presentation looked at the drivers for future changes in land use and then how those changes might affect human wellbeing.

He identified five ways to better wellbeing: Connect with people around you, be active and take exercise that you enjoy, take notice and savour the moment wherever you are, keep learning by trying new things and rediscovering old interests and give to your friends or to strangers, and thereby see yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community.

Finally he suggested that, land management that makes the case for place, locality, intimacy and intricacy in our relationships with the land moves us away from narrowly utilitarian conceptions of the land. He said we need to take stock of how we relate to land and why; to what end do we think about the land? By making that end human wellbeing, notwithstanding the wholly secular terms in which that paradigm has been developed, the contemporary proponents of ecosystem services offer at least a means for those who wish to reclaim the land as an ethical enterprise and a theological one. And, if grounded in that older discipline of land management, we may yet resolve some of the profound political and ethical dilemmas we confront.

Other speakers were Professor Sir John Marsh CBE and the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter.

1 May 2013