About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Humans are not outside nature but part of nature. As such, we are vulnerable to habitat change just as the hedgehog and the stickleback. We have needs and requirements from nature in order to live in health and we suffer poor health when our environment does not provide optimum conditions. Wildlife and humans feel stressed when our natural habitats are tampered with, urban residents with a deficiency of access to nature are impacted most.

Our evolutionary biology hasn't quite caught up with the environments that we've created for ourselves. Our physiological systems are designed for regulation by circadian rhythms which in turn are imprinted into the phenological rhythms of nature, and the effects of nature performing her natural cycles and interactions.

We have lost touch with the baseline for what's normal in terms of biodiverse habitat health. We tend to base our view of normality on what the norm was during our formative years. We do the same for our baseline of city stressors. If we grew up with pollution, sensory overload and deprivations we tend to see that as normal and it becomes our baseline for accepting stress and accepting the traumatic response.

There's a danger that our baseline for natural habitats and our baseline for city stressors have become normalised at an unhealthy level. 'It's normal to have few birds, it's normal to have loud noise'. We seem unaware of what we've lost, with each unhealthy city element we pile up layers of disconnect and trauma; removing nature, introducing air pollution, noise pollution and fast traffic.


Beth Collier

Beth ​is a Nature Allied Psychotherapist and ethnographer, teaching woodland living skills and natural history. She is Director of Wild in the City.