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Understanding the lived experience of connection to nature

Furness, Ella 2021. Understanding the lived experience of connection to nature. Conservation Science and Practice 3 (7) , e440. 10.1002/csp2.440

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There are multiple theoretical understandings of connection to nature. Often, scholars define a connection to nature as being the outcome of a process of awakening “biophilia.” They may also define it as the maturation or development of an “ecological self,” where one sees nature as part of oneself, or as an awareness of oneself as a member of a wider biotic community. Using evidence from longitudinal in-depth interviewing and participant observation, this article examines these differing conceptualizations of connection to nature in lived experience. We find that feeling connected to nature is about feeling an affinity for, and that one belongs within, a wider web of nonhuman relationships. This sense of feeling connected to nature is unstable; it may be felt and then recede according to the circumstances in which people live and their competing priorities. The difficulty of sustaining consistent close relationships with nature in everyday life presents some challenges to the hope that enabling people to feel connected to nature will induce reliable pro-environmental behavior. Relationships with nature fluctuate, and it is necessary to examine how a connection to nature can be nurtured at every stage of life.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 2578-4854
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Scottish Forestry Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 16 April 2021
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2021 12:55

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