30×30 Challenge participants almost doubled time in nature, increased happiness

TORONTO, July 10, 2014 — More than 15,000 Canadians and over 1,000 workplaces and schools participated in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Nature Challenge during May. The third annual campaign challenged participants to commit to getting out into nature for 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days.

Today, the Foundation released results from research into the impacts the challenge had on participants’ health and wellbeing and connection to nature, conducted by Trent University Researcher Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet.

“Participants in the 30×30 Nature Challenge doubled their time spent in nature during the month — being active as well as relaxing”, Nisbet said. Participants also reduced the amount of screen time spent texting, emailing, or on the internet, and boosted their happiness. “They reported significant improvements in their moods, feeling more vitality and energy, with large increases in nature-specific emotions like awe, curiosity and fascination.”

Despite starting the challenge with a strong sense of connection with nature, many participants increased their ‘nature relatedness’, in particular, identification with the natural world and their desire to spend time in nature, the study found. The research also demonstrated that as participants’ nature time increased, so did their personal wellbeing.

“We are excited that thousands of Canadians added a daily dose of nature to their busy lives this spring,” said spokesperson Aryne Sheppard of the David Suzuki Foundation. “This research confirms that adding green time to your routine is a simple way to boost happiness and wellbeing.”

The results are consistent with previous research demonstrating that stronger connections with nature are associated with increased concern for all living things. The improvements in nature-relatedness for 30×30 participants suggest that immersive experiences in nature are important for fostering a connection with the natural world, and for human happiness.

The 30×30 Nature Challenge was presented in partnership with Genuine Health, with generous support from Bullfrog Power and Happenate.

– 30 –

For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org or contact:
Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation, 647-456-9752, jroberts@davidsuzuki.org