Global survey finds we’re lacking fresh air and natural light, as we spend less time in nature
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 wellbeing,
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,
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,
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,
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 nature,
This new population survey echoes VELUX’s new global campaign, ‘Let nature back in, which highlights 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.
YouGov survey: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 16853 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th April - 1st May 2019. The survey was carried out online across Europe and Northern America (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and US).
RAND Europe literature review : Commissioned by The VELUX Group, independent research institute RAND Europe investigated whether research has identified a correlation between nature and mental health and wellbeing. Searching in medical science database for science articles, PubMed and the Cochrane Library, 10 systematic reviews appeared of relevance and a number of these highlights a positive link between nature, nature exposure and mental health. Read the full report here.
About RAND Europe: RAND Europe is a not-for-profit research organisation that helps to improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. Their findings and recommendations are based on rigorously peer-reviewed research and analysis, aiming to benefit the public interest through the impact and wide dissemination of their work.
RAND Europe work with a range of clients, including European governments and institutions, charities, foundations, universities and private sector firms that seek impartial, quality-assured research. They combine deep subject knowledge with proven methodological expertise across many policy areas — health, science, innovation, defence and security, transport, criminal justice, employment and social policy, and education.
About The VELUX Group: For more than 75 years, The VELUX Group has created better living environments for people around the world; making the most of daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme includes roof windows and modular skylights, decorative blinds, sun screening products and roller shutters, as well as installation and smart home solutions. These products help to ensure a healthy and sustainable indoor climate, for work and learning, for play and pleasure. We work globally – with sales and manufacturing operations in more than 40 countries and around 11,000 employees worldwide. The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by non-profit, charitable foundations (THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS) and family. In 2018, VKR Holding had total revenue of EUR 2,6 billion, and THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS donated EUR 118 million in charitable grants. For more, information, visit www.velux.com.