Here’s the latest in a selection of articles recently identified by Natural England in the Nature Connection, Engagement and Pro-environmental Behaviour category
The green care code: How nature connectedness and simple activities help explain pro‐nature conservation behaviours
M Richardson, HA Passmore, L Barbett, R Lumber. R Thomas, A Hunt – People and Nature
This study is the first of its kind to use a validated scale of pro-nature conservation behaviour. We examined factors that accounted for pro-nature conservation behaviour. These were: individual characteristics (demographics, nature connectedness), nature experiences (time spent in nature, engaging with nature through simple activities, indirect engagement with nature), knowledge and attitudes (knowledge/ study of nature, valuing and concern for nature) and pro-environmental behaviour. Together, these explained 70% of the variation in people’s actions for nature.Engaging in simple nature activities (which is related to nature connectedness) emerged as the largest significant contributor to pro-nature conservation behaviour.
Emerging Biophilic Urbanism: The Value of the Human–Nature Relationship in the Urban Space
S Totaforti – Sustainability
The research presented in this article adopts an urban sociology perspective to explore the relationship between spaces designed with biophilic principles and people’s pro-environmental values and behaviors. Focus groups were conducted to investigate how people’s relationship with the built-up space and the natural landscape is perceived, and to what extent the inclusion of nature and its patterns at various levels of urban planning meets people’s expectations. The results suggest that biophilic design and planning can be considered a useful paradigm to deal with the challenges that are posed by the city of the future, also in terms of sustainability, by reinterpreting and enhancing the human–nature relation in the urban context.
Connecting to nature through tech? The case of the iNaturalist app
S Altrudi – Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies
Self-defined as ‘an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature’, iNaturalist is a mobile application whose primary goal is ‘to connect people to nature’, closely followed by the secondary goal of ‘generating scientifically valuable biodiversity data from these personal encounters’, which the founders believe can be achieved simultaneously with the primary goal in a self-reinforcing logic. Following an approach informed by media studies on wildlife photography and film, and science and technology studies as well as insights from interviews with users and participant observation in the Los Angeles area, this article makes the case that mobile applications such as iNaturalist sit at a tension because while they can ignite interest in the natural environment, they also prescriptively describe and normalize a ‘nature’ and an epistemology that are particular to the natural sciences.
Impact of community gardening on lifestyles’ sustainability: quantitative & qualitative evaluation of a natural experiment
M Tharrey et al – Research Square (pre-print)
The “JArDinS” quasi-experimental study aimed to assess the impact of community garden participation on the adoption of more sustainable lifestyles in French adults. Individuals starting gardening in community gardens in Montpellier (France) in 2018 were compared to pairwise matched individuals with no experience in community gardening. Using a longitudinal design allowing causality assessment, no impact was observed of the first year of community gardening on lifestyle sustainability. The pre-established sensitivity to sustainability and the various barriers encountered by new gardeners might explain the absence of community gardening impact.
Are Children Actually Losing Contact with Nature, or Is It That Their Experiences Differ from Those of 120 years Ago?
P Novotný, E Zimová, A Mazouchová, A Šorgo – Environment and Behavior
This study compared the experience with nature of today’s children with data from the beginning of the 20th century to determine whether we can confirm a loss of experience and contribute to the description of changes in children’s relationship with nature. We used a questionnaire originally published in 1900 for this survey. Results from contemporary participants tested showed no difference in level of experience according to the age of the respondents. Although children of the 21st century have less experience with traditional extensive farming activities and biotechnologies, they have much more experience with nature, apparently connected with recreational and field-trip activities. We cannot confirm a decrease in experience among generations, on the contrary, we found a summary increase in experience.
Public Awareness of Nature and the Environment During the COVID-19 Crisis
S Rousseau, N Deschacht – Environmental and Resource Economics
By analyzing online search behavior in twenty European countries, we investigate how public awareness of nature and the environment has evolved during the COVID-19 crisis. We find that the crisis goes hand in hand with a positive shift in public awareness of nature-related topics, but that awareness of environmental topics remains unaffected.
Green and Screen: Does Mobile Photography Enhance or Hinder our Connection to Nature?
A Barrable, D Booth – Digital Culture and Education
This short article aims to explore the effect of using mobile technology to enhance our connection to nature, through a short-term intervention. A total of 57 undergraduates (age range 20 – 31) were randomised into two groups and undertook a short walk in urban nature, with the instruction to notice the beauty in nature and note three beautiful things. Results showed that although the intervention had an overall positive effect on participants’ connection to nature, technology neither enhanced nor hindered it.
From Human Wellbeing to an Ecocentric Perspective: How Nature-Connectedness Can Extend the Benefits of Marine Wildlife Experiences
R Yerbury, B Weiler – Anthrozoös
This study explores what marine mammal encounters mean to people and how they affect connection to and understanding of nature. The paper draws on responses to three survey questions, two quantitative and one qualitative, by 625 predominantly Australian participants. Significant differences were found between the three types of marine mammal experiences on subjective meaning, with highest levels in the wild random, then ecotour, then captive experience. Similarly, participants with wild experiences were more likely to report that the experience had influenced their nature connection than those who had captive mammal experiences. A model is proposed for understanding how marine mammal experiences can facilitate the quest for human wellbeing and meaning.
The meaning(s) of place: Identifying the structure of sense of place across a social ecological landscape
Rajala et al – People and Nature
We introduce the meaning‐dependence framework to account for the broad array of person–place connections within social–ecological landscapes. We applied this framework to private landowners in the Southern Great Plains of the United States, a working landscape experiencing ecological transformation from grasslands to degraded woodlands. Place meanings explained a large amount of variation in place attachment and were characterized by intercorrelations and interactions. Across analyses, experiential meanings reflecting personal psychological connections to one’s land were the predominant drivers of landowners’ place attachment. Way of life emerged as a central meaning for understanding sense of place on private lands.

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