In a 2005 paper published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, authors F. Stephan Mayer and Cynthia MacPherson Franz of Oberlin College argue that the more connection a person (or presumably a culture) feels to nature, the more likely they are to live sustainably and to support political policy that sustains our planetary habitat.
They write that ecologists:
“have argued that this connection to nature is a key component of fostering ecological behavior. For example, the influential ecologist Leopold (1949) wrote years ago: ‘We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a commodity to which we belong, we begin to use with love and respect.’ Ecopsychologists have echoed Leopold’s statement that feeling a sense of belonging to a broader natural community may be a prerequisite for increasing environmental protection.”
I’m curious. How many of you who read this blog believe that your caring about the environment and climate change comes from a feeling of “connection to nature?” Where did you get that connection? Do you live in the countryside or do you live in the city? If you come from a city, how did your connection arise?
More than half the world’s population now lives in cities, implying no physical connection to nature. Is it possible to convince a planet full of people to take care of the world’s eco-systems when the people don’t even really have a sense of being part of those ecosystems?
Image courtesy of Tatmania.