News

Stop. Look. Listen. Enjoy Nature! With the green care code

16 September 2021

To celebrate the Great Big Green Week (18 - 26 September 2021), Go Jauntly has teamed up once again with the Nature Connectedness Research Group from the University of Derby, as well as the Mental Health Foundation, to launch the Green Care Code, a simple prompt to encourage people to notice the good things in nature — Stop. Look. Listen. Enjoy Nature!

The 2020 UK national lockdowns revealed a hidden need for a gentle reminder to notice nature - 74% of people spent more time noticing nature, explaining higher levels of wellbeing and pro-nature behaviours. The Mental Health Foundation’s study of mental health in the pandemic found that spending time outdoors was one of the most popular coping mechanisms - 50% of UK adults surveyed in late August 2020 agreed that being able to visit green space helped them cope with the stress of the pandemic, while 59% said going for a walk outside had the same benefit.

However, this boost to wellbeing and pro-nature conservation behaviours didn’t last and Summer 2021 has seen a ‘double-digit’ fall in connection to nature and noticing nature.

Help is at hand though. Research by the University of Derby Nature Connectedness Research Group shows that simply noticing nature can bring clinically significant improvements in mental health and increase pro-nature conservation behaviours. With this in mind, the Green Care Code has been designed.

Green Care Code - one man in nature, one surrounded by technology and distractions

Put simply the Green Care Code is about remembering to take a moment to pause, look and listen whilst in nature.

There are many ways to put the Green Care Code into practice, from nature journaling the good things you see in nature using pen and paper or the Nature Notes feature on Go Jauntly, to taking a picture of your favourite nature moment of the day and sharing it with a friend. These and other simple ideas, such as listening to birdsong or taking a detour through a local park, have been collated on the Green Care Code website.

Go Jauntly CEO and Co-Founder Hana Sutch, commented “As the data from the University of Derby highlights, we know that creating moments in nature is good for your mental health. Not everyone has easy access to green space at home, it’s predicted that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, but these moments can be found on the doorstep or close to home.

“We need to make it easier for anyone to connect with everyday nature and to incorporate it into their daily routine. Now more than ever, we're all experiencing the real link between contact with nature and our mental health. We hope that the Green Care Code can help us all appreciate the positive moments, no matter how small, and ultimately improve our wellbeing.

“The added bonus is that nature connectedness can lead to pro-nature conservation behaviours which is vital right now given the climate and ecological crises.”

Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Go Jauntly and the Mental Health Foundation once again to launch the Green Care Code. There’s no wellbeing without nature’s wellbeing, and the Green Care Code is a simple way to unite the wellbeing of people and nature.

“Our research shows that noticing the simple things in nature makes a big difference. Making use of the ever-present smartphone to prompt people to engage with nature is a great way to encourage people to take a moment to tune into nature, to not only look after their own mental health, but the wellbeing of nature too.”

Lucy Thorpe, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation, added: “Spending time in nature can really support our mental health. The most important thing is the quality of the experience, and especially taking time to really notice nature. During the pandemic, millions of us discovered nature’s power to relieve our stress, worry and anxiety. In a recent Foundation survey, 65% of UK adults said nature had led them to experience happiness and joy. We are therefore delighted to support the Green Care Code.”

Go Jauntly is available to download on the App Store and the Play Store. The Nature Notes feature is available on iOS and is coming soon to Android. More information about the app can be found here: https://www.gojauntly.com/

To find out more about the work of the Nature Connectedness Research Group, visit the University of Derby website.