A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) used social media and artificial intelligence (AI) to look at the connection between nature experiences and happiness. The team analyzed over 31,500 photographs across 185 countries on social media with the help of an automated image recognition technology, finding global evidence of the biophilia hypothesis, or of human’s innate tendency to seek connection with nature. The study was published in Scientific Reports.
As the income gap becomes more pronounced in US cities, the number of school-age children is dropping as families move out to the suburbs. In 2018 about 12 percent of children aged 17 and under lived in the principal city of a metropolitan area, down from 14.6 percent in 2010. In addition, data from the national Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that the percentage of children aged five and under in these central cities fell from 16 percent in 2010 to 13.9 percent in 2018.
Outdoor or nature-based preschools have expanded dramatically in recent years, from just a handful of programs a decade ago to more than 400 across the US today. Now, as outdoor preschools look for a way to expand, the schools and their supporters are pushing states to consider licensing programs, even in places where children can encounter wild animals or poisonous plants.
New research from the European Centre for Environmental and Human Health at the University of Exeter shows that people who spend time in nature are more likely to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors. Using data from more than 24,000 English adults, the researchers found that exposure to nature, including strolling through a city park, makes people more likely to recycle; get around in greener ways, like walking and biking; buy local and seasonal produce; and engage in environmental volunteering.
A recent study from Canadian researchers found that adolescents consider being outdoors less important than access to screens. The study, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, also found that the addictive nature of screen time was a barrier to connecting with nature for this group.
New research led by University of Washington researchers found that experiencing wilderness is important for our physical and mental health. The study, based in Discovery Park in Seattle, reports that exposure to wilderness is especially important in urban landscapes, even compared to other types of natural areas. The research was prompted by the park’s advisory board, which asked the team to find out which elements are most important for park-goers in order to better inform decision-makers.
Study: Children Who Grow up Feeling Close to Nature Are Happier and More Likely to Care for the Planet
According to a research team in Mexico, children who grow up feeling close to nature are happier and more likely to become eco-friendly, compared to those who suffer from nature deficit disorder. The researchers surveyed nearly 300 children to find a link between ecological and sustainable awareness and feelings of happiness. The study is the first to show that connectedness to nature makes children happier due to their tendency to perform sustainable and pro-ecological behaviors.
The New York State Senate passed the Outdoor Rx Act which will lower barriers for veterans to access New York State’s scenic and restorative outdoor spaces. More than 800,000 veterans live in New York State, but numerous barriers often prevent them from exercising their human right to access nature.