The field—which combines psychology and environmental research—has produced numerous important studies detailing the benefits of nature, forests and parks on human well-being and mental health, including happiness, depression, and anxiety. The findings have been popularized by books like Your Brain on Nature and The Nature Fix, which champion the great outdoors’ health benefits.
But when University of Vermont researchers analyzed a decade of research from the field—174 peer-reviewed studies from 2010 to 2020—they found that study participants were overwhelmingly white, and that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities were strongly underrepresented. Over 95% of studies occurred in high-income Western nations in North America, Europe and East Asia—or Westernized nations such as South Africa—while research in the Global South was largely absent. Less than 4% of studies took place in medium-income nations, such as India, with no studies in low-income countries.
This narrow sample of humanity makes it difficult for the field to credibly make universal scientific claims, say the researchers, who published their findings today in Current Research in Environmental Sustainability.University of Vermont, “Nature helps mental health, research says—but only for rich, white people?” at Eurekalert (May 6, 2022
The Woke are eating their own at a faster rate than ever.
The paper is open access.