News

Reconnecting with nature key for sustainability

People who live in more built up areas and spend less free-time in nature are also less likely to take actions that benefit the environment, such as recycling, buying eco-friendly products, and environmental volunteering.

advertisement

The finding of a new study led by the University of Exeter indicates that policies to preserve and develop urban green spaces, and support urban populations reconnect with nearby nature, could help meet sustainability targets and reduce carbon emissions.

The study, published in Environment International and funded by NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health, analysed survey responses from more than 24,000 people in England. The team looked at people s exposure to nature in their local area, their recreational visits to natural environments (parks, woodlands, beaches etc.), and the extent to which they valued the natural world.

The team, including collaborators from the University of Plymouth and Public Health England, found that many green choices were more common in people who lived in greener neighbourhoods or at the coast, and among those who regularly visited natural spaces regardless of where they lived. The relationships were the same for men and women, young and old, and for rich and poor.

Lead author Dr Ian Alcock, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Over 80% of the English population now live in urban areas and are increasingly detached from the natural world. Greening our cities is often proposed to help us adapt to climate change -- for example, city parks and trees can reduce urban heat spots. But our results suggest urban greening could help reduce the damaging behaviours which cause environmental problems in the first place by reconnecting people to the natural word."

Co-researcher Dr Mat White, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "The results are correlational so there is always the issue of untangling cause and effect, but our results based on a very large representative sample are consistent with experimental work which shows that people become more pro-environmental after time spent in natural vs. urban settings."

Materials provided by University of Exeter . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

University of Exeter. "Reconnecting with nature key for sustainability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2020. .

University of Exeter. "Reconnecting with nature key for sustainability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200115075615.htm (accessed January 15, 2020).
Read more on sciencedaily.com
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Science
Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and wellbeing, according to a new large scale study. advertisement Research led by the...
Science
Research has revealed for the first time that around 271 million recreational visits are made to marine and coastal environments in England. advertisement Conducted by the University of Exeter Medical...
Science
Being able to see green spaces from your home is associated with reduced cravings for alcohol, cigarettes and harmful foods, new research has shown. advertisement The study, led by the...
Science
People who have access to nature or urban green spaces are much more likely to behave in environmentally friendly ways, a study suggests. Researchers used a representative sample of 24, 000...
Science
A community garden occupies a diminutive dirt lot in Phoenix. Rows of raised garden beds offer up basil, watermelons and corn, making this patch of land an agricultural oasis in...