Cognitive Neuroscience​


BMJ Mental Health




Formal publication: October 2023

Authors: Ibanez A, Eyre H

Abstract: The importance of improving brain and mental health and developing sustainable environments is increasingly recognised. Understanding the syndemic interactions between these processes can help address contemporary societal challenges and foster global innovation. Here, we propose a green brain capital model that integrates environmental drivers of brain health and green skills necessary for long-term sustainability and discuss the role of interdisciplinary approaches in promoting individual and collective behavioural changes. We draw on existing literature and research to highlight the connections between brain health, environmental factors and green skills. Environmental factors and exposome can have long-lasting adverse effects on brain health, particularly in vulnerable populations. Investing in green brain capital can prepare societies to address global crises. Green skills, including creativity, ecological intelligence and digital literacy, are critical for promoting sustainable environments. Access to nature improves brain and mental health, and interdisciplinary fields such as neurourbanism can inform urban planning to benefit citizens’ well-being. Building brain capital and environmental sustainability interactions requires increasing future generations’ awareness, education and training. A comprehensive approach to green brain capital can enable greater societal scaling, synergistically protecting brain health and environmental sustainability.