Human-nature relationships in context. Experiential, psychological, and contextual dimensions that shape children's desire to protect nature

Matteo Giusti, Stefano Federici
2019 PLoS ONE  
What relationship with nature shapes children's desire to protect the environment? This study crosses conventional disciplinary boundaries to explore this question. I use qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse experiential, psychological, and contextual dimensions of Human-Nature Connection (HNC) before and after children participate in a project of nature conservation. The results from the interviews (N = 25) suggest that experiential aspects of saving animals enhance children's
more » ... iation and understanding for animals, nature, and nature conservation. However, the analysis of children's psychological HNC (N = 158) shows no statistical difference before and after children participate in the project. Analysing the third dimension-children's contextual HNC-provides further insights. Including children's contextual relations with home, nature, and city, not only improves the prediction of their desire to work for nature, but also exposes a form of Human-Nature Disconnection (HND) shaped by children's closeness to cities that negatively influence it. Overall, combining experiential, psychological, and contextual dimensions of HNC provides rich insights to advance the conceptualisation and assessment of human-nature relationships. People's relationship with nature is better conceived and analysed as systems of relations between mind, body, culture, and environment, which progress through complex dynamics. Future assessments of HNC and HND would benefit from short-term qualitative and long-term quantitative evaluations that explicitly acknowledge their spatial and cultural contexts. This approach would offer novel and valuable insights to promote the psychological and social determinants of resilient sustainable society.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0225951 pmid:31805141 pmcid:PMC6894778 fatcat:tpn7dhwvgjdzda23yexlpluisq