The man-nature relationship and environmental ethics.
Environmental History What has been the human relationship with nature? 2 Major Human Cultural Changes Agricultural revolution (began 10, to 12, . The social nature of the human person is even more evident in the light of faith, human relationships should be marked by a deep gratuitousness, since in our. understanding, including the emotional aspects of our relationship to nature, leads to deeper spheres of the human self‐perception and thus sets free new.
As such, evolutionary psychology is viewed by some to offer a metatheory that dissolves the traditional boundaries held in psychology e. Within this metatheory, all psychological theories implicitly believed by some to unify under this umbrella However, the application of evolution to the study of psychology has not been without controversial debate in areas relating to cognitive adaptation, testability of hypotheses, and the uniformity of human nature During the past few decades, the field has presented numerous concepts and measures to describe human connectedness to nature.
However, the Biophilia hypothesis 44 remains the most substantially contributed to theory and argues for the instinctive esthetic preference for natural environments and subconscious affiliation for other living organisms.
Instead, it reflects thousands of years of evolutionary experience closely bonding with other living organisms Such process is mediated by the rules of prepared and counter-prepared learning that shape our cognitive and emotional apparatus; evolving by natural selection via a cultural context This innate value for nature is suggested to be reflected in the choices we make, experiences expressed as well as our longstanding actions to maintain our connection to nature Similarly, as other researchers have argued, these innate values should be viewed in complementary to other drivers and affinities from different sources that can also be acquired e.
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- Our Role and Relationship With Nature
Social Economics Social economics is a metadiscipline in which economics is embedded in social, political, and cultural behaviors. It examines institutions, choice behavior, rationality as well as values in relation to markets Owing to its diverse structure, the human—nature relationship has been explored in various contexts. While the dynamics of human and nature coupled systems has become a growing interdisciplinary field of research, past work within social economics has remained more theoretical than empirically based The connection between the start of industrialized societies and the dynamically evolving human—nature relationship has been discussed by many 60revealing a host of economic—nature conflicts.
Based on this perspective, the human—nature relationship is simplified to one of exchange value, where adverse costs to the environment are rarely factored into the equation 6. Yet, such avoidance measures can be seen to reflect emerging arguments in the field of environmental justice, which researches the inequalities at the intersection between environmental quality, accessibility, and social hierarchies These arguments derive from the growing evidence that suggests the human—nature relationship is seemingly disproportionate to those vulnerable groups in society e.
As such, conflicts between both private and collective interests remain a challenge for future social economic development Environmentalism Environmentalism can be broadly defined as an ideology or social movement. In this context, the human—nature relationship has been explored through various human-related activities, from natural resource extraction and environmental hazards to habitat management and restoration. Some examples included agricultural engineering 70the extinction of animals through over hunting 71 as well as the ecological collapse on Easter Island from human overexploitation of natural resources, since disproven 72 — Instead, they propose the relationship to be more closely in synchrony.
This conservative behavior e. As Radkau 69 suggests, with warnings of climatic change, biodiversity loss, and depletions in natural resources, this poses a threat to humanity.
Environmental History What has been the human relationship with nature?
As such, this will eventually generate a turning point where human power is overwhelmed by the power of nature, bringing nature and power into a sustainable balance. An Interdisciplinary Perspective of the Human—Nature Relationship Through exploring the key concepts found in evolutionary biology, social economics, evolutionary psychology, and environmentalism, this has enabled a broader understanding of the various ways humans are connected to the natural environment.
Each should not be viewed as separate entities, but rather that they share commonalities in terms of mutual or conjoint information and active research areas where similarities can occur see Table 1 below. For example, there is a clear connection between social economics, evolutionary psychology, and biology in areas of health, lifestyle, and biophilic nature 405381 as well as between social economics and the environment in regards to balancing relationships of power 5 A summarized overview of human—nature relationship connections between those research fields explored.
Our understanding of the human—nature relationship and its underlying mechanisms could be further understood from an interdisciplinary perspective. Further, while humanity, and indeed nature also, has not entirely escaped change, it cannot be assumed that all have been shaped by evolutionary mechanisms 42 Some have been shaped by what Radkau 75 terms as the power shift between humans and nature, which is evolving, as it has and will keep on doing.
As such, the human—nature relationship goes beyond the extent to which an individual believes or feels they are part of nature. It can also be understood as, and inclusive of, our adaptive synergy with nature as well as our longstanding actions and experiences that connect us to nature. Over time, as research and scientific knowledge progresses, it is anticipated that this definition of the human—nature relationship will adapt, featuring the addition of other emerging research fields and avenues.
It is, however, beyond the scope of this paper to review the many ways these concepts have been previously explored 84 — Since then, this shift has seen a major growth in the last 30 years, primarily in areas of positive health and psychology 88 — Despite its broad perspective of human health, the definition has also encountered criticism in relation to its description and its overall reflectance of modern society.
Similarly, others have highlighted the need to distinguish health from happiness 84 or its inability to fully reflect modern transformations in knowledge and development e. As such, there have been calls to reconceptualize this definition, to ensure further clarity and relevance for our adaptive societies Broadly, health has been measured through two theoretical approaches; subjective and objective First, physical health is defined as a healthy organism capable of maintaining physiological fitness through protective or adaptive responses during changing circumstances While it centers on health-related behaviors and fitness including lifestyle and dietary choicesphysiological fitness is considered one of the most important health markers thought to be an integral measure of most bodily functions involved in the performance of daily physical exercise These can be measured through various means, with examples including questionnaires, behavioral observations, motion sensors, and physiological markers e.
Second, mental health is often regarded as a broad concept to define, encapsulating both mental illness and well-being. It can be characterized as the positive state of well-being and the capacity of a person to cope with life stresses as well as contribute to community engagement activities 83 It has the ability to both determine as well as be determined by a host of multifaceted health and social factors being inextricably linked to overall health, inclusive of diet, exercise, and environmental conditions.
As a result, there are no single definitive indicators used to capture its overall measurement. This owes in part to the breadth of methods and tends to represent hedonic e. Third, social health can be generalized as the ability to lead life with some degree of independence and participate in social activities Indicators of the concept revolve around social relationships, social cohesion, and participation in community activities.
Further, such mechanisms are closely linked to improving physical and mental well-being as well as forming constructs, which underline social capital. Owing to its complexity, its measurement focuses on strengths of primary networks or relationships e. Current Knowledge on the Human—Nature Relationship and Health This section summarizes existing theoretical and literature research at the intersection of the human—nature relationship and health, as defined in this review.
Physical Health Though it is widely established that healthy eating and regular exercise have major impacts on physical health 98within the past 30 years research has also identified that exposure to nature e. Empirical research in this domain was first carried out by Ulrich 46 who found that those hospital patients exposed to natural scenery from a window view experienced decreased levels of pain and shorter recovery time after surgery.
In spite of its increasing findings, some have suggested the need for further objective research at the intersect of nature-based parameters and human health 9.
This presents inherent difficulty in comparing assessment measures or different data types relative to the size and scale of the variables being evaluated 9. Further, there still remain evidence gaps in data on what activities might increase levels of physical health as well as limited amount of longitudinal datasets from which the frequency, duration, and causal directions could be inferred Mental Health Mental health studies in the context of connecting with nature have also generated a growing research base since the emergence of the Biophilia concept in the mids Supporting research has been well documented in literature during the last few decades.
Similarly, further mixed-method approaches and larger sample sizes are needed in this research field. This would enhance existing evidence gaps to enhance existing knowledge of variable interlinkages with other important sources e. Social Health In the last two decades, the relationship between people and place in the context of green spaces has received much attention in academic literature in regards to its importance for the vitality of communities and their surrounding environments One of the main limitations within this field relates to the generally perceived idea that public green spaces are freely open to everyone in all capacities This limitation has been, as already, highlighted from the emerging arguments in the field of environmental justice and economic—nature conflicts As such, many researchers highlight the need to maintain awareness of other barriers that might hinder cohesion and community participation e.
Further, there still remains a gap between academic research and local knowledge, which would otherwise lead to more effective interventions. Nonetheless, for such approach to be implemented requires sufficient time, cost, and an adequate scale of resources to ensure for aspects of coordination, communication, and data validation This in part owes to the increasing evidence accumulating in research literature centering on the relationships between the following areas: Such health-related effects that have been alluded to include chronic diseases, social isolation, emotional well-being as well as other psychiatric disorders e.
Reasons for these proposed links have been suggested to stem from various behavioral patterns e. Further, these suggested links have been inferred, by some, to be visible in other species e.
Nonetheless, research within this field remains speculative with few counter examples e. As a species we are assigned the duty to provide and proliferate. Our goal is to achieve stability for ourselves and our kin. However we also have an obligation to maintain the environment, as we depend on the resources and services it provides.
Environmental History What has been the human relationship with nature? - ppt download
The question then becomes: Do we have the right to manipulate the land, factory farm animals, and pollute waterways? Or do we have an obligation to reduce our numbers and merely subsist? In order to answer these questions we must rely on our knowledge of Earth, evolution, and our influence on the environment.
History Our relationship with nature has historically been one of imbalance and overuse. Nearly every step in human history has unfortunately been accompanied with a leap in environmental degradation.
At first, humans were incredibly in-tune with their surroundings. Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes used to roam the lands, following the ebb and flow of the seasons. These tribes had a measurable impact on the environment, but their influence was relatively manageable due to their population size.
With advancements in technology and agriculture though, humans began to find more efficient ways of sustaining themselves. These advancements allowed for more permanent settlements, which led to rapid population growth and a distancing from nature.
As society evolved, populations grew and more and more resources were required to fuel the expansion. With breakthroughs in agriculture, settlements became more permanent and cities began to take shape. This shift to city life inadvertently led to a distancing from nature. While many people were still in-tune with nature on a subsistent level, the need for more and more resources began to change our regard for nature.
Although our distancing from nature began several thousand years ago with advancements in agriculture and social order, it is the age of industry to which we owe our modern regard for nature. The growth of cities allowed for a separation between people and nature and our obsession with convenience and efficiency beckoned a new perspective on the environment.
With technological advancements, nature became something we were no longer apart of and entirely subject to, but something that we could control and profit off of. The growth of industry enabled humans to truly dominate the landscape and disrupt the natural systems that have been in place for billions of years.
As we have removed ourselves further and further from nature, we have developed a willing ignorance of our role and relationship within it.
With the growth of cities and trade we have moved from a subsistent, sustainable economy to one of greed and exploitation. Humans have always had an impact on the environment, but with the age of industry that impact has been ultra-magnified. Population growth has been exponentiated, cities have become the primary place of residence, and the majority of the world is now out of touch with the workings of nature.
Although every species plays a unique role in the biosphere and inherently has its own impact, not every species has the cognitive ability to measure their influence or the capacity to change it.
Humans are unique in that respect, which is the root of the problem. We know we are crippling the environment. We have the ability to do something about it. Therefore, we should make change where change is necessary. Economy The size of our population and its incessant desire to expand has an obvious impact on the environment.
However, that impact is magnified with the demands of industry and capitalism. In his book, Regarding Nature, Andrew McLaughlin identifies industrialism and the capitalist mindset as being especially influential on our regard for nature: Further causing a perceived division from nature is the economic structure we have allowed to infect most of the world. Our relationship with nature has now become purely economic.
We do not associate ourselves as a part of nature because we use it for profit. Forests are cut down for the profits of the lumber industry and to make room for livestock. Animals that we are undoubtedly related to, that have senses and the ability to socialize are slaughtered by the billions to feed an increasingly carnivorous population.
Resources such as oil and food are all unevenly distributed throughout the world and therefore used as a platform for profit. All the while the environment bears the grunt of our greed. In order to reconstruct our views of nature and understand our place within it, it is important to reconsider our relationship with each other and our surroundings. We have to consider ourselves as part of a bigger picture.The Butterfly Effect: Interconnectedness of Humans and the Natural World - Cain Landry - TEDxUMaine
Industry and capitalism rely heavily on ignorance and individualism. However, the reality is that we are all dependent upon each other in one way or another.