Nature to place: Rethinking the environmental connectedness perspective

Thomas H. Beery, Daniel Wolf-Watz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations

Abstract

The environmental connectedness perspective posits that direct encounter with generalized, or non-specific "nature," leads to environmental connectedness and subsequent pro-environmental behavior. This article examines this perspective and proposes a place-based application of the nature encounter-environmental behavior relation. An empirical study using data from a national survey on outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism is presented. Results show a minimal relationship between measures of environmental connectedness and self-reports of environmental behavior. The following examination of the environmental connectedness perspective reveals that environmental connectedness is rooted in a material/objective perspective, neglecting the human domain of perceptions, values, and representations. The environment as "nature" is portrayed as a geographically undefined agent with the inherent power to change human attitudes and behavior. Based on this, the article concludes with a proposed replacement of the elusive concept of nature for the relational concept of place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-205
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Dualism
  • Environmental behavior
  • Human-environment relationship
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Place attachment

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