The Challenge: Connect with Nature
People’s relationship with nature profoundly influences their behaviors toward the environment. At a time when the world is confronted with growing environmental threats, better understanding the critical connection between people and nature is key to informing effective decision making, stimulating positive action, and optimizing the benefits people and communities receive from nature.
There is a significant difference between the positive effects of nature exposure and those experienced by people who increase their nature connectedness. While we may experience nature exposure on a regular basis whilst we are engaging in activities outside, our modern Western society has seen a significant decline in the importance of true nature connectedness. Nature connectedness is seen as the extent to which nature is part of our identity and how we then relate to the natural world around us. This is not to say that walking or cycling to work, or taking a walk in the local park is not beneficial, just that the majority of the befits to human emotional health and wellbeing and the affect that this has on pro-environmental behaviours comes from how we interact with what is around us and how we value it.*
Nature connection activities can range from mindfully sitting in nature or walking slowly through nature, exploring the natural environment that surrounds you through all your senses, up to physically engaging with nature and hugging a tree (there are benefits to hugging trees and you really should give it go if you never have!) and lots in between.*
Looking for ways to connect with nature?
The Hudson Valley is rich in outdoor experiences, which makes it a great place to live, work and play. Drawing on more than 50 years protecting and preserving this region, Scenic Hudson has created a directory of some of the unique treasures to be found here.
*Asher, H. (2022, August 9). The environmental benefits of increased nature connection. An Darach Forest Therapy. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://silvotherapy.co.uk/articles/nature-connection-and-the-environment