Global survey finds we’re lacking fresh air and natural light, as we spend less time in nature

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A survey of 16,853 adults across 15 countries, across Europe and North America, found that despite 90% of respondents stating that they would enjoy spending more time in nature, over half (52%) said that in the last month they had on average only spent one hour or less a day in it.

Let nature back in

The VELUX Group today releases findings that depict modern society’s vanishing relationship with the natural environment.

The survey of 16,853 adults across 15 countries, across Europe and North America, found that despite 90% of respondents stating that they would enjoy spending more time in nature, over half (52%) said that in the last month they had on average only spent one hour or less a day in it.The global survey revealed that 85% believed that they typically spent more time in nature as a child than children do today, indicating that this is a mounting global problem.

That some people don’t even spend a full hour in nature during a day deeply concerns us, especially as we know that a connection to the natural environment has knock-on benefits on people’s overall wellbeingcomments VELUX Head of Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate expert Peter Foldbjerg.

We spend up to 90% of our lives indoors and have become an indoor generation. The survey shows that globally people do want to combat this, and it’s therefore crucial that we find ways to let nature back into our daily lives again, he continues.

Nature can reduce stress and increase wellbeing
Restorative environment research studies have also documented how being in nature or exposed to nature can increase wellbeing.

Nature can reduce risk of illnesses involving chronic stress, as well as promote a range of intermediate outcomes such as subjective wellbeing,

explains behavioral scientist Terry Hartig, Uppsala University, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, who has documented how exposure to nature can have restorative effects and potentially limit stress and increase wellbeing.

A new research review conducted by independent research institute RAND Europe on behalf of VELUX, has also identified several studies that find a positive association between people’s exposure to nature and their mental health and wellbeing, for instance helping reduce people’s perceived stress state.

77% believe they should change daily routines to reconnect with nature, according to the YouGov Survey​

The survey found that 77% think they should make changes to their daily routine and lifestyle to enable them spend more time in nature. In Italy the number is significantly higher, with 88% thinking they should make changes. Similarly, Canada is also the nation in which percentages are the highest of people spending an average of one hour or less a day in nature in the past month (69% compared to a 52% global average).

Concerningly, the coming generation are likely to experience an even greater disconnect with nature, unless we begin to make some immediate changes – reshaping our homes, so they let the outside, in could be just one effective measure, concludes Peter Foldbjerg.

Aside from having a positive impact on mental wellbeing, 86% of Austrians believe that having access to nature, daylight and fresh air has a positive impact on physical health, and 84% of people in Poland believe that it has a positive impact on quality of sleep. In the US its positive impact on stress levels (71%) was the most popular opinion. Inside the home, two thirds (66%) of all respondents enjoy watching the weather through a window. In Poland and Slovakia people are particularly fond of bringing nature inside with the majority enjoying having house plants (76% and 73% respectively).

Letting in natural light and fresh air to the home could be one among many ways to re-establish our connection to naturesays daylight, energy and indoor climate expert Peter Foldbjerg.

This new population survey echoes VELUX’s new global campaign, ‘Let nature back in, whichhighlights the risks of a nature deficient society. It explores the effects that indoor-based lifestyles can have on our overall wellbeing amid a shift to an increasingly urbanized population,illustrated in a film directed by Martin de Thurah, showing how children from previous generations played outdoors, to the children of today who are far more likely to stay inside in front of various screens.

 

To learn more, go to outsidein.velux.com.

Glassinnov

Glassinnov

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