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October 3, 2023

PaRx Ties for Canada’s 2024 Clean50 Top Project of the Year

In recognition of its “overwhelming success, press, and international acclaim,” PaRx was voted by delegates at the Clean50 Summit on September 28 as a tie for 2024’s Clean50 Top Project of the Year (https://www.clean50.com) from the Delta Management Group and Canada’s Clean50 organization.

Each fall, Clean50 recognizes 50 senior leaders, 20 emerging leaders, 5 lifetime contributors and 25 projects in Canadian sustainability for their innovations contributing to climate resiliency and the low-carbon economy. PaRx was among the top project honourees recognized at the “Clean50 Summit 13.0” held in downtown Toronto this past Thursday. Leader honourees in attendance included federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, former Vancouver Mayor and current senior leader at green construction company Nexii Gregor Robertson, as well as senior executives from many of Canada’s largest electricity distribution companies.

“Delta’s criteria in determining Project awards is to carefully consider a combination of actual measurable impact, demonstrated innovation, and the project’s ability to inspire others to imitate it – and PaRx: Canada's National Nature Prescription Program completed by BC Parks Foundation is a terrific example,” says Gavin Pitchford, CEO of Delta Management Group.

2024 Clean50 Top Project of the Year recipients with Gavin Pitchford, CEO of Delta Management group. Photo supplied by Delta Management Group.

PaRx formalizes an evidence-based recommendation for a patient to improve their health by spending time outdoors in writing, giving it the same weight as a traditional prescription for medication. By informing and inspiring millions of Canadians across the nation to make a meaningful connection to nature, PaRx provides an innovative solution to the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss facing Canada and the world. Furthermore, it can provide immense savings to Canada’s healthcare budget. Mental illness costs Canadians over $50 billion per year alone and will result in an estimated $16 trillion loss to the global economy between 2010 and 2030.

“Health expenditures to treat chronic diseases and mental illness now outpace our economic growth. We need to change that, pronto, and it means focusing on wellness, not just illness. Creating more parks and getting people into them is one of the most effective and efficient strategies for improving health, reducing healthcare costs and stimulating the economy,” says Andy Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation.

A 2014 report estimated that national and state parks in the U.S. contribute a value of $24.7 billion US annually through increased physical activity alone. Worldwide, a recent global study found that access to protected green spaces provides an estimated $6 trillion US annual savings in mental health costs. The potential savings to healthcare budgets across diverse health outcomes by encouraging Canadians to spend more time in nature could be vast, with improved population health boosting overall economic productivity, while simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of the healthcare system.

With doctors consistently ranking at the top of most trusted professionals globally, their endorsement of nature for health greatly influences people’s support for conservation. Research even shows that people across the lifespan who are more connected to nature are more likely to support biodiversity values and engage in pro-environmental behaviours, proving nature prescriptions improve sustainability amongst Canadians.

“What an incredible honour to be voted by Canada's top sustainability leaders as Clean50 Top Project of the Year,” says PaRx Director Dr. Melissa Lem. “This is a testament to the hard work and vision of our core PaRx team and thousands of prescribers and partners across the country and beyond. From healthcare and environment to government and industry, leaders in these sectors are making it clear that connecting patients in Canada to nature is essential for healthy people and a healthy planet.”

PaRx Director Dr. Melissa Lem, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for the BC Parks Foundation Jennie McCaffrey and PaRx Coordinator Laura Hergott pitching PaRx for Project of the Year. Photo supplied by Delta Management Group.

In under three years, more than 12,000 healthcare providers – including 6 per cent of Canadian physicians – have registered to prescribe nature with PaRx. The program is also widely endorsed by more than 100 major health and parks organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association, the first national physicians’ association in the world to formally endorse a nature prescription program.

Inspired by its rapid growth across the nation, a €6.3 million European Union funded project is using PaRx as a framework to scale up the initiative internationally. What started as a grassroots movement is now stimulating global conversations about the vital connections between nature, biodiversity, climate change and human health.

Read more about PaRx’s selection as a Top Project here.

Clean50 Summit delegates. Photo supplied by Delta Management Group.

About BC Parks Foundation:

As the official charitable partner of BC Parks, the BC Parks Foundation is leading an expedition to create the best park system in the world by working with you to protect, enhance and sustain our parks, while inspiring and connecting people to them. Based on a growing body of evidence that suggests that spending time in green spaces can have a wide range of mental and physical health benefits, the BC Parks Foundation launched PaRx in November 2020 to help health professionals improve patients’ health by connecting them to nature. In under three years, the program has launched in every province, registered over 12,000 healthcare professionals, and been endorsed by more than 100 major health and parks organizations.


About Delta Management Group/Canada’s Clean50:

Leading sustainability and clean tech search firm Delta Management Group in 2011 founded, and remains the steward of the Canada’s Clean50 awards. The awards were created to annually identify, recognize and connect 50 sustainability leaders, 10-20 Emerging Leaders and Top Projects from every sector of Canadian endeavor. The firm also annually convenes the Clean50Summit, in order to facilitate understanding, collaboration and innovation in the fight to keep human caused climate impacts below 1.5 degrees.  



Media contacts:

BC Parks Foundation
Jennie McCaffrey, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Delta Management Group/Canada's Clean50
Gavin Pitchford, CEO
o: 416-925-2005, m: 774-330-6606

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