“We can see that your earlier experiences of natural environments are important,” says Karl Samuelsson, environmental researcher at the University of Gävle.
According to Karl, previous studies indicate a clear connection between how often you spent time in natural environments when you were growing up, for example how much you played outdoors, and your attitudes to natural environments as an adult.
“These facts can determine your experiences of urban green spaces when you live in a city. Besides, your attitudes can be important for your well-being and health. We think that this is a self-reinforcing circle, in which one thing leads to another,” Karl Samuelsson says.
Different types of natural environment have different effects
Their study shows that one’s attitude to nature matters; the more positive attitude you have to natural environments, the greater the restorative effect. And a certain type of natural environment has the greatest effect, namely the healthy ecosystem.
“Different places have different ecological values. Old leaf trees and meadows may be important. Ecosystems with great biodiversity have greater value,” says Matteo Giusti.
Urban nature is and will remain our most common contact with nature
Creating human habitats that simultaneously support both people’s well-being and ecological sustainability is for this reason an urgent priority, the researchers emphasize.
“The opposite is also true. A low emotional attachment to nature means that it is more likely that you will have restorative experiences in areas without natural elements,” Karl Samuelsson adds.
“We have to start early by allowing children to learn about nature in urban natural environments. These are very long processes. If you build a strong relationship with nature very early on, you will grow up to become a decision maker and opinion former who will protect nature. They become mutually dependent driving forces,” Matteo Giusti concludes.
Article PLOS ONE