Britain ranks last in Europe in terms of interconnectedness with nature | Access to green spaces

From the Romantic poets to the cosmopolitan reach of Sir David Attenborough, Britain is known as a nation of nature lovers.

But the citizens of this supposedly green and pleasant land rank in the bottom 14 European countries according to a new study.

The interconnectedness of nature is a psychological concept that measures the closeness of an individual’s relationship with other species and the wild world. studies Discover that people who have a high level of bonding with nature Enjoy better mental health Which more likely to work in A friend of the environment Methods.

the studypublished in the journal Ambio, examines the factors at the country level that influence the degree of individual affinity with nature, finding the strongest correlation between biodiversity and the bond with nature, with individuals living in countries where wild species and landscapes remain intact and enjoy a closer relationship with nature. .

Britain comes at the bottom of the list of 14 countries in terms of biodiversity, after losing More than any other country in the G7 And proven to be One of the most exhausted countries of nature on the planet.

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Another country-wide factor in natural interdependence is the average age of the population, as older people tend to enjoy closer relationships with nature – perhaps because there was more when they were children or had more freedom to enjoy it.

While higher levels of urban dwellers do not necessarily imply a weaker connection to nature, the most decisive negative effects on connection to nature have been higher average income and smartphone ownership. Countries with a high level of smartphone ownership have been closely associated with a more distant relationship with nature.

Another study He found that people who take a lot of selfies have less connection to the natural world. The latest study also supports previous research showing this New technology is more important than urbanization In the The decadence of nature’s words In cultural products since the 1950s.

Professor Miles Richardson of the University of Derby, lead author, said: ‘We are a nation of nature lovers, cherish our poets, celebrate our landscape artists and love our nature documentaries – there is a perception that we are a nation of nature lovers but it hurts to be told that what this data suggests Strongly it is no, that is not the case.”

He said it was too simplistic to conclude that smartphones were the cause of the loss of contact with nature, but that they were part of Britain’s downward spiral.

“When you lose your biodiversity, you lose your chance to deal with it,” he said. “At the same time you have these new opportunities to interact with smartphones or whatever the latest technology. It’s hard to come to a causal conclusion, but it’s probably a downward spiral — biodiversity goes down, the relationship with nature goes down and diversity goes down. more biological and those around you.”

By analyzing data from 14,745 adults across European countries including Germany, Spain, France and Italy, researchers found that Brits had minimal connection with natureranking 3.71 out of 7. Italy may have the highest number of citizens associated with nature, with a ranking of 4.67.

Other high-ranking countries are located in southern or central Europe, such as Portugal, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, while the northern European countries have shown the least affinity with the natural world, with Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Ireland making up the bottom. Five over the UK.

According to Richardson, measuring “interconnectedness with nature” can become a useful tool in addressing the biodiversity crisis because the concept does not adopt the dominant Western view of man and nature as separate but rather captures it as a relationship – like many pre-industrial societies. And Eastern philosophies did.

“Although we cannot reduce our relationship with nature to a single number, the world works with numbers and there are times when we need to put numbers in front of someone and convince them that something must be done,” Richardson said. “It’s one measure of one health – a simple measure of human and nature’s health.

“We seek to restore natural habitats but loss of habitat and biodiversity is a symptom of a failed relationship with nature, and now people see this relationship as the root cause of nature’s degradation. [The concept of nature connection] It has a lot to offer mental health, too. If we have one goal to provide two benefits to people and the rest of nature, that sounds like a great thing.”

Richardson calls on the United Nations to adopt the concept of the interconnectedness of nature as a sustainable goal, in his sense 17 Sustainable Development Goals She is currently either focused on issues for people or for nature. “We seldom focus on the interface, on the relationship,” he said. “Sometimes we are so detached that we don’t see the relationship as something tangible at all.”