Mexico City [Mexico], Mar 1 (ANI): Staying connected to nature can bring immense happiness to children as well as inculcate sustainable and pro-ecological behaviours in them, a new study finds.
The researchers state that disconnection to nature, termed "nature deficit disorder", may contribute to the destruction of the planet, as the lack of a bond with the natural world is unlikely to result in the desire to protect it.
"Parents and teachers should promote children to have more significant contact or exposure to nature, because our results indicate that exposure to nature is related to the connection with it, and in turn, with sustainable behaviours and happiness," said lead researcher Berrera-Hernandez from the Sonora Institute of Technology (ITSON).
"Being aware of the interrelation and dependence between ourselves and nature, appreciating all of the nuances of nature, and feeling a part of it," Berrera-Hernandez added.
The study recruited 296 children between the ages of 9 and 12 from a northwestern Mexican city. All the participants were given a self-administered scale completed in school to measure their connectedness to nature, sustainable behaviours (pro-ecological behaviour, frugality, altruism, and equity) and happiness.
This included measuring their agreement with statements about their connectedness to nature, such as 'Humans are part of the natural world' and statements about their sustainable behaviours, such as 'I separate empty bottles to recycle'.
The researchers found that feeling connected to nature had positive associations for sustainability practices and behaviours, and also led to children reporting higher levels of perceived happiness.
This suggests that children who perceive themselves to be more connected to nature tend to perform more sustainable behaviours and therefore also have greater levels of happiness.
As the planet faces growing threats from a warming climate, deforestation and mass species extinction, research focusing on the relationships between humans and nature is increasingly urgent to find solutions to today's environmental issues, Berrera-Hernandez said. (ANI)