Polling for the National Trust by YouGov revealed some heartbreaking truths about people's disconnect from nature. More than six in 10 adults (62 percent) rarely or never listen to birdsong, and almost eight in 10 (79 percent) had rarely or never smelled wild flowers in the past year. While this separation from the natural world is bad for the soul, it also has another negative cost. People who don't have positive associations with nature are less concerned with environmental issues. As climate change threatens all life, disinterest can be deadly.
Andy Beer, from the National Trust, said: "With the current nature crisis, people may feel powerless in the face of the daunting task of helping halt its decline.
"But evidence shows that small, everyday interventions in people's lives can lead to real meaningful change that could add up to make a huge difference.
"Daily doses of nature are vital to making this connection. The fantastic thing about it is that it's not hard for people to do.
"Whether it's on the way to school or work, on a day out with family or friends or simply spending time at home - there are many ways we can all take time to actively experience nature."
As there are numerous psychological benefits to taking time to appreciate nature, the Trust is starting a new initiative called "couch to 5K for nature." Aside from the health benefits of exercise, there's plenty of opportunity to spend time in the world. Participants are encouraged to grow a garden, sketch flowers, or build habitats for wildlife. In addition, the program recommends building little moments of appreciation into a busy life life like watching the sunrise, listening to birdsong and watching butterflies and bees. The campaign will include billboards advertising the first day of spring, events celebrating the dawn, and a "blossom watch" scheme.
Professor Miles Richardson, one of the researchers from the University of Derby, said: "This report for the first time demonstrates that simple everyday acts of noticing nature that build a closer connection are key to people taking action for nature.
"In our analysis, we discovered that the kind of connection that makes the difference involves more than simply spending time outdoors - instead it's about actively tuning in to nature, regularly spending simple, bite-size moments relating to nature around you.
"Every bit of connection makes a difference. If we're to tackle the nature crisis, then a closer connection and new relationship with nature is needed across the majority of the population."