Study Shows Living Close to Nature Improves Mental Health
A new study reports that moving to live closer to "green spaces" not only improves mental health immediately, but that the change is sustained for a significant period. Comparably, moving to more urban areas causes a temporary decline in mental health, according to the study.
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The study adds to other scientific studies of recent years that show that being outside improves mental and emotional wellbeing.
Conducted in England by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, the study utilized data on more than 1,000 participants collected over five years. The data revealed that those who moved to greener areas had improved mental wellbeing for at least three years. It also showed that those who moved to more developed areas had an initial decline in mental health that returned to previous levels of wellbeing after the move.
This study contributes to mounting evidence that natural environments are valuable resources for improving health and wellbeing.
Yet, despite these studies, many remain disconnected from these environments. Research in 2007 revealed that in the past couple decades recreation in nature has declined 18 percent to 25 percent, which has also been closely correlated to the decline in national park visitation.
The statistics for youth in particular are even more disparaging. One study had only 26 percent of mothers verify that their kids play outdoors daily, while many studies have shown that kids spend an average of one to six hours every day engaging with technology indoors. Some researchers have concluded that these trends may be in part due to declining access to outdoor spaces for play.
"These findings are important for urban planners thinking about introducing new green spaces to our towns and cities,” said Dr. Ian Alcock, the study's lead researcher.
Research like his also supports reasoning for protecting those natural spaces that already exist, some of which are near cities.
The Wilderness Society supports protecting wild places not only good for the wildlife, water and other spectacular resources in them, but for the benefits to those who visit these places for enjoyment and adventure.
After all, even if you live in an urban area, you can still enjoy the benefits of the outdoors. Wild places near you can offer the respite and joy that these studies prove make a difference in your life.
Below, Dr. Alcock explains the study:
Visit EcoWatch’s HEALTH page for more related news on this topic.
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.