A study conducted by the University of Exeter has found 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.
The study, analysing 24,000 survey responses across England, received publication in Environment International and was funded by NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health. It found that the number of greener choices made and value for the natural world tended to be higher for those who lived in greener areas or by the coast, and for those that regularly visited green spaces regardless of where they lived.
Urban greening could help reduce the damaging behaviours which cause environmental problems in the first place by reconnecting people to the natural worldDr Ian Alcock
Speaking about the study, lead author Dr Ian Alcock remarked: “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 world.”
The team behind the study hope it will encourage the creation of policies that maintain and increase the number of urban green space in order to help populations of cities to reconnect with the nearby nature.
Whilst co-researcher Dr Mat White admitted “there is always the issue of untangling cause and effect,” he pointed out “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.”
Editor: Emma Hussain