Better Living Through Nature


Researchers John M. Zelenski, Raelyne L. Dopko and Colin A. Capaldi of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, recently published a study in The Journal of Environmental Psychology that tests the notion that modern lifestyles contribute to environmental destruction—not only via excessive consumption, but also by disconnecting people from nature.   The authors state:

“Despite nature’s apparent benefits, most people spend the majority of their time indoors away from nature.  This physical disconnection may also foster a problematic psychological disconnection. That is, when humans do not feel like they are part of larger ecosystems, they may be less inclined to protect the natural environment. Supporting this idea, individual differences in subjective connectedness with nature consistently predict pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors, as well as happiness. Ironically, our threatened natural environments may be critical to fostering the deep concern that would protect them.”

They showed a nature video or an architectural video, representing nature vs non-nature, to a group of students then examined how they behaved afterwards.  The results in three differently organized experiments supported the hypothesis that  the nature video would produce higher rates of cooperative and sustainable behavior.  You can read the entire article and find all of its citations to related research at The Journal of Environmental Psychology.

The bottom line is that getting more closely associated with the natural world will help all of us be better citizens when it comes to the ability to cooperate in ways that will lead to long-term sustainability of our society.

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#sustainability #nature #cooperation

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