The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis
of the few teachers in the district offering nature clubs, elk clubs, duck clubs, and turkey clubs. The human relationship with nature: Development and culture. For most, this non-human environment is the “natural” world, and “nature” is first writers to articulate the important connection between landscape and culture in the US. . Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space . Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection Stephen R. Kellert The Human Relationship with Nature: Development and Culture (Cambridge.
A distinct but related idea is the personality construct of subjective nature connectedness, a stable individual difference in cognitive, affective, and experiential connection with the natural environment. Subjective nature connectedness is a strong predictor of pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors that may also be positively associated with subjective well-being. This meta-analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between nature connectedness and happiness.
Those who are more connected to nature tended to experience more positive affect, vitality, and life satisfaction compared to those less connected to nature. Publication status, year, average age, and percentage of females in the sample were not significant moderators.
This research highlights the importance of considering personality when examining the psychological benefits of nature. The results suggest that closer human-nature relationships do not have to come at the expense of happiness.
Rather, this meta-analysis shows that being connected to nature and feeling happy are, in fact, connected. Termed the biophilia hypothesis by Kellert and Wilsonthis attraction to life and lifelike processes can be understood through an evolutionary perspective.
Because humans have spent almost all of our evolutionary history in the natural environment and have only migrated to urban living in relatively recent times, this attraction, identification, and need to connect to nature is thought to remain in our modern psychology Kellert and Wilson, More specifically, it would have been evolutionarily adaptive for our ancestors to be connected to nature in order to survive and thrive in their immediate environmental circumstances.
The everyday behaviors of our ancestors such as successfully finding suitable food, water, and shelter, effectively monitoring time and one's spatial location, and avoiding and reacting to predators all heavily relied on paying attention to cues in nature. Thus, individuals who were more connected to the natural world would have had a significant evolutionary advantage over those who were not as connected. To be clear, not all aspects of nature are beneficial and life supporting.
For example, Ulrich reviews instances of biophobia, or a biological preparedness to acquire fear of persistently threatening things such as snakes and spiders.
Nonetheless, he argues that evidence of biophobia simultaneously suggests the viability of evolved positive responses to the natural world. Evolutionary psychology more generally suggests that modern environments are not optimally suited to minds that evolved in different more natural environments e.
Thus, the specific biophilia hypothesis is not needed to retain the more general evolutionary idea of modern gaps in optimal human-environment fit. The gap in nature exposure between our early evolutionary environments and modern life is clear, and appears to be growing. For instance, children are spending less time playing in natural environments compared to previous generations Clements, ; Louv, ; England Marketing, and, in general, individuals from developed nations are spending almost all of their time indoors Evans and McCoy, ; MacKerron and Mourato, On a broader scale, for the first time in human history, more of the world's population now lives in urban instead of rural areas United Nations Population Division, This physical disconnection from the environments in which we evolved in may be having a detrimental impact on our emotional well-being as exposure to nature is associated with increased happiness Berman et al.
Beyond these trends, individuals vary along a continuum in their subjective connection to nature e. This individual difference, which will be referred to as nature connectedness, can be thought of as trait-like in that it is relatively stable across time and situations Nisbet et al.
Nevertheless, one's subjective connection to nature can fluctuate e. For the purposes of this paper, nature connectedness will be primarily conceptualized as a trait-like between-person difference. Consistent personality, attitudinal, behavioral, and well-being differences are found between those who strongly identify with and feel connected to the natural world compared to those who do not.
Individuals higher in nature connectedness tend to be more conscientious, extraverted, agreeable, and open Nisbet et al. Beyond personality traits, a greater connection to nature is also associated with more pro-environmental attitudes, a greater willingness to engage in sustainable actions, and increased concern about the negative impact of human behavior on the environment Mayer and Frantz, ; Leary et al.
Behaviorally, individuals higher in nature connectedness are more likely to spend time outdoors in nature and engage in a variety of pro-environmental behaviors e.
Section 8: Landscape: Nature and Culture
Most relevant to this article, nature connectedness has also been correlated with emotional and psychological well-being e. The purpose of the current research was to examine the relationship between nature connectedness and happiness in particular by conducting a meta-analysis. The meta-analysis was completed by using correlations to examine the strength of the relationship but not necessarily if one variable causes the other. An evolutionary history where it was apparently advantageous for our ancestors to be connected to nature and present day variability in nature connectedness appear to be contradictory ideas at first glance, but multiple explanations exist for how both can co-exist.
First, similar to how variability in other personality traits can be understood as being the result of cost and benefit trade-offs for fitness Nettle,so too can nature connectedness. For example, although conscientiousness is often thought of as a desirable and beneficial personality trait e. Relatedly, there may have been ways in which being high in nature connectedness was not evolutionarily advantageous e.
Taking another perspective, although we might have an innate predisposition to connect and identify with the natural world, it may be shaped by early childhood experiences and culture. Orr raised the idea that there may be a critical period during development where one must have positive experiences in nature in order to develop biophilic beliefs, feelings, and tendencies. In addition, Kellert believed that biophilia could also be shaped by culture and experiences despite it being inborn.
Supporting this, individuals who are higher in nature connectedness as adults recall spending more time in nature during their childhood compared to those who are not as connected to nature Tam, a. In addition, researchers have found that some groups e. This research illustrates that developmental experiences and cultural context can have an influence on our evolved tendency to connect with nature.
In sum, the biophilia hypothesis and individual differences in nature connectedness are not contradictory and can logically co-exist to examine and explain the human-nature relationship. A variety of concepts and measures have been developed in order to assess the human-nature relationship, including commitment to nature Davis et al.
Through the lens of interdependence theory Rusbult and Arriaga,Davis et al. Another clearly affective nature connectedness construct is emotional affinity toward nature, which was developed by Kals et al. Inclusion of nature in self was developed by Schultz who adapted the Inclusion of Other in Self scale Aron et al.
With one of its items being the Inclusion of Nature in Self scale, connectivity with nature is defined by Dutcher et al. The multidimensional construct of environmental identity, which Clayton likens to other collective identities that people have, is conceptualized as a feeling of connection to the natural environment and the belief that the environment is an important part of one's self-concept. Despite these different concepts and measures, they all appear to be assessing slightly different expressions of the same underlying construct i.
To support this, they are all highly correlated with one another and associated with other personality characteristics, measures of well-being, and environmental attitudes and behaviors in a relatively similar manner see Tam, a.
For these reasons, no distinctions will be made between these concepts in this paper and nature connectedness will be used as an umbrella term for all of them.
A common line of research for many in this area is the investigation of the relationship between nature connectedness and well-being e.
Well-being and the path to its attainment have traditionally and typically been conceptualized in one of two ways by philosophers and psychologists Grinde, His selection here provides an overview of landscape as an idea, and suggests how territory is defined physically and culturally. Jackson discusses two landscapes: He suggests that the political landscape represented through symbols such as monuments, fences, and steeples is a manifestation of the social order.
The inhabited landscape—often without formal markings— is where people feel an emotional connection to nature and a sense of belonging in the world. For Jackson, these landscapes are not separable; in fact, they come together in the way people have lived and learned to work the land.
Geographer Judith Carney sheds further light on the historical meaning of landscape and the intersections of culture and nature. Looking at rice cultivation in the US south, Carney traces the social relations and geographical implications of agricultural knowledge and practices, showing how these patterns are inscribed in the landscape.
She argues convincingly that it was the environmental knowledge of African slaves that brought rice cultivation to the US. Carney looks at the origins of rice cultivation in West Africa and discusses how success depends upon growing rice in anaerobic wetland conditions. Knowledge of this system was foreign to most of those colonizing the Americas, but rather was introduced and advanced by involuntary black migrants to what became the southeastern US.
She demonstrates how women were especially instrumental in rice cultivation, as the milling process required special care to export the product for international markets see figure at the beginning of Section 8. For Carney, the landscape may be read as a text that connects and makes visible agricultural and social processes that span oceans and decades and discrete knowledge formations. These power dynamics make clear that all landscapes are shaped through labor processes that are often changing and conflicted.
Geographer Wendy Wolford examines landscapes that are defined by situations and issues that originate at the state level, but which are negotiated more locally through the decisions and practices of individuals and groups. She compares two groups, family farmers in the south and rural plantation workers in the northeast, and their reasons for and interests in joining the movement. She concludes that the degree to which people participated—and whether people saw space as open or closed—was shaped by how they had traditionally related to the land through their labor.
Journalist and sustainability activist Michael Pollan argues that the United States has made two important contributions to understanding landscape: Pollan suggests that in order to develop our understanding of and relation to the landscape, we need to move beyond this dichotomy.
For Pollan, these two types of landscape represent contradictory understandings of the natural environment. On the one hand, there is an insistence on the preservation of an ideal wilderness untouched by civilization, while on the other is the lawn—nature utterly dominated by civilization, an industrial product in many ways.
In telling the history of these opposing relations to nature, Pollan argues that dispensing with both lawn and wilderness and replacing them with a notion of the garden, as a place of careful cultivation, might offer a better alternative and a more appropriate model for the human relation to nature.
In addition to considering the making of social and cultural landscapes, researchers are also attentive to how the landscape is perceived and experienced. Environmental psychologist Louise Chawla argues that experiencing landscape as place is valuable because it is sensory- rich, restorative, and character-forming. She examines autobiographic accounts to discover what types of places stay in our memory and inform who we are as adults.
Chawla suggests that these places create ecstatic memories which sustain and delight us, and, as places remembered, are the landscapes that have been most intensely felt. The selections we have included are intended both to help us understand our relationship to the environment and suggest more sustainable directions for our interaction with the natural world in which we may more thoughtfully and carefully work with the landscape.
Human Natures, Nature Conservation, and Environmental Ethics | BioScience | Oxford Academic
At the same time, these selections only begin to explore the research and scholarship that looks at the place of people in the world. Recent studies have mapped the origins and transportation of food to construction materials, as a reminder that everything comes from somewhere McDonough and Braungart Jackson by looking more closely at layers of history and politics ingrained in the landscape.
The list goes on, but we encourage you to use this view of landscape to inform your experience of place and understand that our interaction with the environment is dynamic, sensory-rich, and intimately tied to our futures together on this planet. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. University Of Minnesota Press.
Building with the Land. University of Minnesota Press. Making Sense of Nature. Cloke, Paul, and Owain Jones. Taking Measures Across the American Landscape.