As well as being a strategy for increasing environmental concern and engaging people in pro-environmental lifestyle changes and responses, helping people to connect with nature also has psychological benefits. It can help to reduce stress and improve attention; it can provide a sense of identity and ‘belonging’; and help people make sense of their world.
- Seek out a wide range of nature experiences. This could be as simple as growing plants on the windowsill, walking in local parks, or interacting with animals, or something more substantial like bush-walking, holidaying in the country or wilderness.
- Have nature experiences with others. Being part of a social group who are busy together with a shared interest, like tree planting, or taking part in Landcare groups, or bird watching, can be very empowering and can foster environmental activism.
- Be open to having both positive and negative experience of nature. Negative experiences (like being frightened or uncomfortable) help to show us nature in a way that is not idealised and disconnected from lives, but as something of which humans are a part.
- Value what remains. With one fourth of the Earth's species heading for extinction by 2050, the importance of valuing what remains is more important than ever. Build a personal and intimate connection with the very nature you are trying to protect.