How does engaging with nature relate to life satisfaction? Demonstrating the link between environment-specific social experiences and life satisfaction
The natural environment contributes to human wellbeing in a variety of ways, including providing outdoor recreation venues and underpinning cultural practices. Understanding whether the diversity of human-nature experiences significantly relate to overall subjective wellbeing, however, is rarely explored. Using results from 4418 respondents to an online survey conducted in Washington's Puget Sound region, we describe the relationship between overall life satisfaction and diverse metrics of how people engage with the natural environment. We found that eleven of the thirteen tested metrics had a small but positive correlation to overall life satisfaction and specific groupings of environment-specific social indicators were internally reliable constructs that predicted life satisfaction. These included: Sense of Place, Outdoor Activities, Good Governance, Social and Cultural Activities, Psychological Wellbeing, and Resource Access. This research empirically demonstrates that a variety of mechanisms for engaging the natural environment significantly contribute to overall subjective wellbeing.