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Reconnecting to the Biosphere: Children’s socio-ecological emotions for Nature
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

How do children develop an emotional relationship with Nature? This study provides a transdisciplinary exploration of how the connection with the Biosphere develops and how it is influenced by different socio-ecological environments. It assesses environmental sensitivity, awareness and attitude of 28 children in Stockholm together with the biophysical environments in which these children have been, and the environmental ethic of the social context with whom they have been in contact (parents and teachers). The results are summarized into two major findings. First, the biophysical environment in which a child is immersed influences the formation of an emotional relationship with the Biosphere. Children with higher exposure to wild and rural environments have also higher empathy and concern for natural elements, while the opposite is true for children with higher exposure to indoors. Second, the social perception of an environment influences children’s feelings for the same environment. Children who fear forests because of predators have parents and teachers who also perceive forests as unsafe for children’s playing. The complex network of socio-ecological influences and the little empirical evidence does not allow the study to provide insights about the mechanisms underpinning the development of each emotion. However, the study significantly affirms that children’s emotional connection with Nature is adaptive to children’s socio-ecological surroundings. These findings highlight the potential of different disciplines to pursue the mental reconnection of human and Nature, e.g. experiential learning and transmission of social memories. Further, urban planning grants remarkable tools to implement such scientific understanding in the realm of an ever growing urban population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 74 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74855OAI: diva2:512443
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-03-27 Created: 2012-03-27 Last updated: 2012-03-27Bibliographically approved

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