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.
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.
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