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On Environmental Grounds: Outdoor Recreation, Place Relations and Environmental Sustainability
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the relationship between outdoor recreation and environmental concern as part of the wider issue of environmental sustainability in late-modern societies. It includes studies of environmentalists’ (that is environmentally committed individuals’) preferences and motivations with regard to outdoor recreation, and covers the inquiries of whether and how outdoor recreation can influence levels of environmental concern.

The questions addressed are how environmentalists engage in outdoor recreation, with what motives, and whether participation in outdoor recreation can influence levels of environmental concern. Empirically, the thesis is based on a mixed methods approach, including analyses of data from a national survey on outdoor recreation and a qualitative case study of the organization Nature and Youth Sweden (Fältbiologerna). Theoretically, it is based on the concepts of place, habitus and field.

Study results show that environmentally committed individuals favor participation in appreciative activities in areas perceived as pristine, preferably away from urban environments. Motivations refer to these preferences, but also to aspects of discursive context, social identity and social position. These aspects are also found to be crucial regarding the influence of outdoor recreation on environmental concern. Thus, study results also show a lack of support for environmental concern as an automatic outcome of outdoor recreation. It is rather a combination of interconnected conditions referred to as: favorable place relations, adequate outdoor experience and appropriate social context.

The thesis contributes to new knowledge on the relationships and connections between outdoor recreation and environmental sustainability. While the results are of importance with regard to planning for outdoor recreation and development of nature-based tourism, they are of particular interest for environmental organizations, schools and other institutions working for a more sustainable society.

Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the relationship between outdoor recreation and environmental concern as part of the wider quest for environmental sustainability in late-modern societies. Generally, outdoor recreation contributes to an increased use of resources and a growing impact on the environment. At the same time, outdoor recreation is also part of a wider narrative of fostering environmental concern, where forms of nature encounter are seen as potential pathways to pro-environmental attitudes and behavior. Thus, the thesis addresses themes of recreational participation and preferences among environmentalists - and the inquiry into the ways outdoor recreation may influence levels of environmental concern.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. , 80 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:27
Keyword [en]
Environmental Concern, Place, Nature, Practice, Tourism
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35900ISBN: 978-91-7063-643-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-35900DiVA: diva2:807242
Public defence
2015-05-29, 11D257, Agardhsalen, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-04-23 Last updated: 2017-08-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Environmentalism and Tourism Preferences: A Study of Outdoor Recreationists in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmentalism and Tourism Preferences: A Study of Outdoor Recreationists in Sweden
2011 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, ISSN 1502-2250, E-ISSN 1502-2269, Vol. 11, no 2, 190-204 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7432 (URN)10.1080/15022250.2011.583066 (DOI)000299872500005 ()
Available from: 2011-05-23 Created: 2011-05-23 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. Traveling for nature?: On the paradox of environmental awareness and travel for nature experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Traveling for nature?: On the paradox of environmental awareness and travel for nature experiences
2014 (English)In: Tourism, ISSN 1332-7461, Vol. 62, no 1, 5-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change is widely regarded as the major environmental problem facing the world today. Due to this, transportation, including traveling for recreational purposes, is now being thoroughly examined. Still, and despite a growing awareness of the impact of traveling, the demand for nature based tourism holds its position in general and, paradoxically, also among environmentalists. To understand this paradox, a qualitative study was conducted of Nature and Youth Sweden, to explore an organization that combines a profound commitment to the environment with a great outdoor interest. Data were gathered through focus groups with district boards and by a content analysis of the organization 's magazine. Results show that recreational traveling of environmentalists may be explained by the practice of placing nature in remote and "pristine" areas. Preferences for places characterized by biodiversity, natural quiet, an absence of other people as well as human impact reflect a desire among environmentalists to distance themselves from contemporary urban society. This desire outweighs one of their most important environmental concerns: global warming. Even though the members of Nature and Youth Sweden reject traveling by air on environmental grounds, it is concluded that environmentalism appears to be a reason for traveling, rather than a barrier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute for tourism, 2014
Keyword
Environmentalism, Landscape, Nature and youth sweden, Nature based tourism, Place, ecotourism
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35999 (URN)2-s2.0-84900392874 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Nature to place: Rethinking the environmental connectedness perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nature to place: Rethinking the environmental connectedness perspective
2014 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 40, 198-205 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Dualism, Environmental behavior, Human-environment relationship, Outdoor recreation, Place attachment
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35998 (URN)10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.06.006 (DOI)2-s2.0-84904300965 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Affiliation and affection
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Affiliation and affection
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-36000 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2015-10-02Bibliographically approved

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