Making connections

Soga, M. & Gaston, K.J. 2023. Global synthesis reveals heterogeneous changes in connection of humans to nature. One Earth 6, 131-138.

The connection that individuals have with nature impacts their well-being and their support for pro-nature policies. While it is generally believed that the connection between humans and nature is decreasing, the extent of this trend is uncertain. Here, we present a global analysis of the temporal changes in people’s psychological and physical connections to nature. Using a systematic review protocol, we identified 71 articles consisting of 100 case studies. Most of these studies used cross-sectional, rather than longitudinal, approaches, which examine the connection to nature among people of different ages. The literature we reviewed indicates that there has been a decline in human connection to nature over time. However, the magnitude of changes in nature connection varied by geographic and socio-economic settings, with some studies showing an increasing trend. These findings suggest that there are opportunities to limit and reverse ongoing disconnection of humans from nature where it does occur.