Human–nature connectedness as a ‘treatment’ for pro-environmental behavior: making the case for spatial considerations

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The degree to which an individual feels connected to the natural world can be a positive predictor of pro-environmental behavior (PEB). This has led to calls to ‘reconnect to nature’ as a ‘treatment’ for PEB. What is not clear is the relationship between where one feels connected to nature and where one acts pro-environmentally. We propose that integrating spatial scale into the conceptualization of these constructs will provide insights into how different degrees of connectedness influence pro-environmental behavior. We discuss trends towards a spatial understanding of human–nature connectedness (HNC) and introduce three archetypes that highlight scalar relationships between scale of connectedness and scale of pro-environmental behavior: (1) equal interactions, (2) embedded interactions, and (3) extended interactions. We discuss potential policy and practice implications of taking a spatially explicit approach to HNC–PEB research, and propose a research agenda for investigating these scalar relationships that can inform nature as a ‘treatment’ intervention.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1375-1388
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2018

    Research areas

  • Local-to-global scales, Nature as treatment, Nature connectedness, Pro-environmental behavior, Sustainability
  • Sustainability Science