Studies on nature’s health benefits show western bias
Spending time outdoors is good for mental health, according to a growing body of research. For example, visiting forests and parks has been shown to increase happiness and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. But are the benefits universal? A review paper noted that most studies in this field look at rich, white, western populations, and scientists say this results in an incomplete picture of the benefits. Carlos Andres Gallegos-Riofrío, of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment, whose findings have been published in Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, says indigenous populations like those he studies in South America have different relationships with nature to other people. He says it is important to learn how their mental health is affected by this different rapport.