Psychology of Sustainable Development

pp 61-78

Inclusion with Nature: The Psychology Of Human-Nature Relations

  • P. Wesley Schultz

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Human survival is directly tied to our relationship with the natural environment. Achieving a sustainable lifestyle depends on establishing a balance between the consumption of individuals, and the capacity of the natural environment for renewal. Yet, we often act as ifwe are separate from nature — as if we can get along without nature. Indeed, built environments serve as barriers between individuals and the natural environments in which they live. Offices, schools, homes, cars, restaurants, shopping malls, and many other built environments segregate people from nature. This chapter examines the implicit connection that individuals make between self and nature, and the impact of built environments on these implicit cognitions. A psychological model for inclusion with nature is presented, containing cognitive (connectedness), affective (caring), and behavioral (commitment) components. Implicationsfor theory, design, and sustainability are discussed.