Around 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Simulated nature is better than none – but it’s not nature

A recent study has determined that watching nature programming on TV or via a virtual-reality headset reduces feelings of sadness and boredom. According to researchers from the University of Exeter, scenes of nature soothe us – whether they are real video footage of a coral reef, to use the study’s example, or even just computer-generated graphics of the same.

“Our results show that simply watching nature on TV can help to lift people’s mood and combat boredom,” lead researcher Nicky Yeo said in a news release. “With people around the world facing limited access to outdoor environments because of Covid-19 quarantines, this study suggests that nature programs might offer an accessible way for populations to benefit from a ‘dose’ of digital nature.”

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