What is Nature Relatedness?

Nature relatedness (NR) describes individual levels of connectedness with the natural world.  Nature relatedness is not unlike the deep ecology concept of an ecological self, the notion of a self-construal that includes the natural world.  NR is an appreciation for and understanding of our interconnectedness with all other living things on the earth.  NR is distinct from environmentalism in that it is comprised of much more than activism.  Nor is it simply a love for nature, or enjoyment of only the superficially pleasing facets of nature, such as sunsets and snowflakes.  NR is an understanding of the importance of all aspects of nature, even those that are not aesthetically appealing or useful to humans, such as mosquitoes, mice, death, and decay.

 

NR comprises the cognitive, affective, and physical connection we have with nature.  NR is an internalized identification with nature – feelings and thoughts about one’s personal connection to nature.  NR also is reflected in an external perspective, a nature-related world view, or a sense of agency concerning individual human actions and their impact on all living things.  NR may reflect a physical familiarity with the natural world, a level of comfort with and desire to be out in nature most evident in those who are drawn to the wilderness, and who are aware of and fascinated with nature all around them.

 

The development and validation of the NR Scales are described in:

 

Nisbet, E. K., Zelenski, J. M., & Murphy, S. A. (2009). The Nature Relatedness Scale: Linking individuals’ connection with nature to environmental concern and behavior. Environment and Behavior, 41, 715-740. doi:10.1177/0013916508318748

 

Nisbet, E. K., & Zelenski, J. M. (2013). The NR-6: A new brief measure of nature relatednessFrontiers in Psychology: Personality Science and Individual Differences, 4, 1-11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00813