A nature language: An agenda to catalog, save, and recover patterns of human-nature interaction

Peter H. Kahn, Jolina H. Ruckert, Rachel L. Severson, Aimee L. Reichert, Erin Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We as a species are losing rich and diverse forms of interaction with nature: the awe, for example, of encountering an animal in the wild or a slug underfoot, of sleeping under the night sky, or of even seeing the night sky in our urban settings. The loss is happening quickly (in terms of decades) and potentially impoverishing us as a species, physically and psychologically. Toward addressing this problem, we propose a new research agenda that is focused on generating what we are calling a Nature Language - a way of speaking about patterns of interactions between humans and nature and their wide range of instantiations, and the meaningful, deep, and often joyful feelings that they engender. Many of these patterns presumably emerged during the course of our evolutionary history. In this article, we share some of our initial thinking about a nature language so as to initiate dialog with the ecopsychology community. If a nature language project proves successful, it will allow people to speak more readily and comprehensively about what is beautiful in our relation with nature, and what is missing but still possible if we change course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalEcopsychology
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

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