• Beyond knowing nature: Contact, emotion, compassion, meaning, and beauty are pathways to nature connection

      Lumber, Ryan; Richardson, Miles; Sheffield, David; DeMontfort University; University of Derby (Public Library of Science (PLOS), 2017-05-09)
      Feeling connected to nature has been shown to be beneficial to wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour. General nature contact and knowledge based activities are often used in an attempt to engage people with nature. However the specific routes to nature connectedness have not been examined systematically. Two online surveys (total n = 321) of engagement with, and value of, nature activities structured around the nine values of the Biophila Hypothesis were conducted. Contact, emotion, meaning, and compassion, with the latter mediated by engagement with natural beauty, were predictors of connection with nature, yet knowledge based activities were not. In a third study (n = 72), a walking intervention with activities operationalising the identified predictors, was found to significantly increase connection to nature when compared to walking in nature alone or walking in and engaging with the built environment. The findings indicate that contact, emotion, meaning, compassion, and beauty are pathways for improving nature connectedness. The pathways also provide alternative values and frames to the traditional knowledge and identification routes often used by organisations when engaging the public with nature.
    • Evaluating connection to nature and the relationship with conservation behaviour in children

      Hughes, Joelene; Richardson, Miles; Lumber, Ryan; University of Derby; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; De Montfort University (Elsevier, 2018-07-25)
      ‘Connection to nature’ is a multidimensional trait thought to be important for developing positive conservation behaviours, and strengthening people’s connection to nature has become the focus for many conservation activities. A connection to nature may be developed through repeated engagement with nature, and experiences during childhood are thought to be particularly significant. However, many children today are considered to have a low connection to nature, presenting a critical challenge for the future of nature conservation. Several instruments have been developed for measuring connection to nature. These instruments are important for establishing current levels and thresholds of connection and evaluating efforts to improve connection, yet the way the instruments and the derived scores relate to the term ‘connection’ frequently used in conservation discourse has, so far, been overlooked. In this study, we interrogate Cheng et al.’s (2012) Connection to Nature Index (CNI) and develop a refined “gradient of connection” based on the instrument structure, proposing boundaries of low (below 4.06), mild (between 4.06 and 4.56) and strong (over 4.56) connection that are relevant for conservation activities. Furthermore, we show how the suggested boundaries relate to self-reported conservation behaviours with a high probability of performing behaviours (>70%) only reached at strong levels of connection. Our data show that, in agreement with current perceptions, the population of UK children surveyed have a low connection to nature and are unlikely to be performing many conservation behaviours. This demonstrates how the index can be used to measure and evaluate connection in populations in a way that will enhance future conservation efforts.
    • The green care code: How nature connectedness and simple activities help explain pro‐nature conservation behaviours

      Richardson, Miles; Passmore, Holli‐Anne; barbett, lea; Lumber, Ryan; Thomas, Rory; Hunt, Alex; University of Derby; Insight and Data, National Trust, Swindon, UK (Wiley, 2020-07-08)
      The biodiversity crisis demands greater engagement in pro‐nature conservation behaviours. Research has examined factors which account for general pro‐environmental behaviour; that is, behaviour geared to minimizing one's impact on the environment. Yet, a dearth of research exists examining factors that account for pro‐nature conservation behaviour specifically—behaviour that directly and actively supports conservation of biodiversity. This study is the first of its kind to use a validated scale of pro‐nature conservation behaviour. Using online data from a United Kingdom population survey of 1,298 adults (16+ years), we examined factors (composed of nine variable‐blocks of items) that accounted for pro‐nature conservation behaviour. These were: individual characteristics (demographics, nature connectedness), nature experiences (time spent in nature, engaging with nature through simple activities, indirect engagement with nature), knowledge and attitudes (knowledge/study of nature, valuing and concern for nature) and pro‐environmental behaviour. Together, these explained 70% of the variation in people's actions for nature. Importantly, in a linear regression examining the relative importance of these variables to the prediction of pro‐nature conservation behaviour, time in nature did not emerge as significant. Engaging in simple nature activities (which is related to nature connectedness) emerged as the largest significant contributor to pro‐nature conservation behaviour. Commonality analysis revealed that variables worked together, with nature connectedness and engagement in simple activities being involved in the largest portion of explained variance. Overall, findings from the current study reinforce the critical role that having a close relationship with nature through simple everyday engagement plays in pro‐nature conservation behaviour. Policy recommendations are made.
    • Moments, not minutes: The nature-wellbeing relationship

      Richardson, Miles; Passmore, Holli-Anne; Lumber, Ryan; Thomas, Rory; Hunt, Alex; University of Derby; National Trust (University of Waikato, 2021-01-31)
      A wealth of literature has evidenced the important role that the greater-than-human natural environment plays in our mental health and wellbeing (reviews by Bratman et al., 2019; Capaldi et al., 2014, 2015; Pritchard et al., 2019). Spending time in nature, engaging with nature directly and indirectly, and a strong sense of nature connectedness (a psychological/emotional connection with nature) have each been shown to positively impact wellbeing. Few studies, however, have examined the importance that various nature-related factors have on our wellbeing when examined in concert with each other, with none including factors of nature connection and engagement. In the current study, using a national United Kingdom sample of 2,096 adults, we provide new insights into this gap in the literature. Our primary focus was on examining, when considered simultaneously, the patterns and relative predictive importance to hedonic wellbeing (i.e., happiness), eudaimonic wellbeing (i.e., worthwhile life), illbeing (i.e., depression and anxiety), and general physical health of five nature-related factors: (1) nature connectedness, (2) time in nature, (3) engagement with nature through simple everyday activities, (4) indirect engagement with nature, and (5) knowledge and study of nature. A consistent pattern of results emerged across multiple analytical approaches (i.e., correlations, linear regression, dominance analyses, commonality analysis), wherein time in nature was not the main (or significant) predictive nature-related factor for wellbeing. Rather, nature connectedness and engaging with nature through simple activities (e.g., smelling flowers) consistently emerged as being the significant and prominent factors in predicting and explaining variance in mental health and wellbeing. Implications for practical application and policy/programme planning are discussed.
    • Nature: a new paradigm for well-being and ergonomics

      Richardson, Miles; Maspero, Marta; Golightly, David; Sheffield, David; Staples, Vicki; Lumber, Ryan; University of Derby; University of Nottingham (2016-03-22)
      Nature is presented as a new paradigm for ergonomics. As a discipline concerned with well-being, the importance of natural environments for wellness should be part of ergonomics knowledge and practice. This position is supported by providing a concise summary of the evidence of the value of the natural environment to well-being. Further, an emerging body of research has found relationships between well-being and a connection to nature, a concept that reveals the integrative character of human experience which can inform wider practice and epistemology in ergonomics. Practitioners are encouraged to bring nature into the workplace, so that ergonomics keeps pace with the move to nature-based solutions, but also as a necessity in the current ecological and social context.
    • One thousand good things in Nature: aspects of nearby Nature associated with improved connection to Nature

      Richardson, Miles; Hallam, Jenny; Lumber, Ryan; University of Derby (2015-10-01)
      As our interactions with nature occur increasingly within urban landscapes, there is a need to consider how ‘mundane nature’ can be valued as a route for people to connect to nature. The content of a three good things in nature intervention, written by 65 participants each day for five days is analysed. Content analysis produced themes related to sensations, temporal change, active wildlife, beauty, weather, colour, good feelings and specific aspects of nature. The themes describe the everyday good things in nature, providing direction for those seeking to frame engaging conservation messages, plan urban spaces and connect people with nearby nature.