Urbanization threatens biodiversity and people’s opportunities to interact with nature. This progressive disconnection from the natural world is profoundly concerning as it affects human health, wellbeing, attitudes and behaviors towards nature. Increasing the quantity of experiences of nature (EoN) can enhance health and wellbeing benefits, but it remains unclear whether it can also affect environmental attitudes across different countries. Here, we conducted a cross-cultural survey among 741 people from France, Israel and the UK, who either own a dog (and thus prone to go outdoors to walk their dog), a cat, or no pet. This setting was used as a quasi-experiment to explore the relationships between EoN, nature relatedness, environmental knowledge and attitudes. Our results confirmed that dog-owners have a higher quantity of EoN. However, we found that although dog-ownership was associated with people’s relatedness to nature, the increased quantity of EoN did not correlate with environmental knowledge or attitudes. Thus, increasing the quantity of EoN may not be sufficient for mitigating the effects of the extinction of experience and consequently a more profound understanding of the quality of EoN and the means to enhance it are needed. This knowledge is crucial to help landscape planners provide accessible and suitably designed green spaces that can foster meaningful interactions with nature, for instance through specific gardening practices or creative design.
- Nature experience
- Environmental knowledge
- Nature relatedness
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- School of Applied Sciences - Principal Lecturer
- Ecology, Conservation and Society Research and Enterprise Group