There have been many reports which convey the positive benefits of nature on the well being of people. The positive effects of nature on people may be even more powerful than previously thought. The American Institute of Biological Sciences reported via EurekAlert, contact with nature may be associated with more social cohesion and less crime.
Human exposure to nature has been found to be linked to communities which are safer and which have better social and community interactions. There have been strong trends towards urbanization with less green space. There has not been much of an emphasis on investigating the social consequences of contact with nature. An international team of researchers has used nationally representative data from the United Kingdom to explore the relationships which exist between objective measures and self reports of contact with nature, cohesion in the community, and crime incidence.
The researchers have said that after taking into account a wide range of factors which could possibly interfere such as socioeconomic deprivation, unemployment rate and socioeconomic standing it was determined that people’s experiences of local nature could explain a significant variance in perceptions of cohesion within a community. A likewise striking relationship with crime was observed.
The researchers have said that the positive impact of nature on neighbors’ mutual support systems may actually discourage crime, even in areas where lower socioeconomic factors exist. It is their feelings that such findings could serve as justification for policies which are aimed at lowering crime by enhancing contact with nature. It is their hope that this study will stimulate considerations of how to ensure that nature can continue to help nurture well being for individuals and society.
This study has been published in the journal BioScience. Links have been observed between contact with natural environments, cohesion in communities and crime. It is of concern that people may be losing touch with nature across the world. The finding that local nature is linked to decreased crime both directly and indirectly via its effects on community cohesion are compelling. It appears a greener world would be a healthier and safer world.