Contact, Emotion, Meaning, Compassion, and Beauty as Pathways to Nature Connectedness

PhD Thesis


Lumber, Ryan 2016. Contact, Emotion, Meaning, Compassion, and Beauty as Pathways to Nature Connectedness. PhD Thesis https://doi.org/10.48773/92y26
AuthorsLumber, Ryan
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

The cultural disconnect between humanity and nature that predominantly occurs in westernised, industrial societies been linked to the current environmental issues of the
21st century. It has been suggested that reconnecting humanity with nature would help address anthropogenic environmental problems through behaviour change, while
providing physical and mental wellbeing benefits to the individual. While the term connection to nature still implies a separation, it functions as a sous rature for dispelling
the erroneous belief that humanity and nature are not one and the same. Nature connectedness is a subjective, multidimensional sensation/perception that an individual
belongs to a wider natural community and while the outcomes of a connected relationship with nature have been frequently explored, the pathways that establish this connection
have not yet been systematically investigated. While activities including walking in nature, noticing nature, gardening, environmental education, and outdoor pursuits have all been suggested to increase nature connectedness, the multi-dimensionality and subjectivity of the construct make a systematic investigation into the routes to nature
connection difficult. The Biophilia Hypothesis offers a potential framework for investigating the pathways to nature connectedness through its nine values that describe
the range of possible interactions humanity has with wider nature. Biophilia was therefore utilised as a framework for this very purpose in a systematic investigation into the
pathways to nature connectedness. Five research studies were conducted that together form a systematic investigation, comprising of a focus group study (chapter four), two
online surveys (chapter five), a face to face intervention (chapter six) and an online writing intervention (chapters seven and eight). The programme of research identified five
pathways to nature connectedness; contact, emotion, meaning, compassion, and beauty which were then tested, with increases found in nature connectedness, vitality and proenvironmental attitudes across the two interventions. The thesis presents the first systematic investigation into the routes to nature connection, with the pathways utilised in two interventions that increased nature connectedness. The pathways have the potential to address the perceived separation between humanity and nature within westernised societies. The thesis finishes with a discussion of the possible application of the pathways by charities, public bodies, private enterprises, and in education settings when engaging individuals with nature in order to promote nature connection, wellbeing, and proenvironmentalism.

KeywordsNature Connection; Biophilia; proenvironmentalism.
Year2016
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.48773/92y26
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/621530
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Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited31 Mar 2017, 10:43
Publication dates09 Dec 2016
ContributorsThe University of Derby
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