We know the benefits associated with living in nature and the outdoors is well documented. We also know that, for some reason, some people are more inclined to a life in the outdoors than others. One reason that has not been explored much is the genetics influences people’s desire for nature.
In 1986, biologist E.O. Wilson proposed that humans have the natural desire to be in nature. In recent times, the world is becoming rapidly urbanized. Despite the benefits associated with living in natural environments, most people are ditching the great outdoors for city life. Nonetheless, the inherent desire to be in nature is exhibited in many ways, including visits to parks and gardens. Some people spend considerable amount of time with nature.
Scientists at the National University of Singapore, in a paper, sought to find out the possible genetic and environmental influences in people’s nature orientation, opportunity (living in less urbanized areas), and different dimensions of nature experience (frequency and duration of public nature space visits and frequency and duration of garden visits). The research found that a person’s desire for nature is associated with moderate heritability of nature orientation (46%) and nature experiences (48% for frequency of public nature space visits, 34% for frequency of garden visits, and 38% for duration of garden visits) and show their genetic components partially overlap. Another factor that influences the desire to be in nature include the level of urbanization of home district.
This research has opened a new dimension for researchers to explore the specifics of people-nature interactions.