The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
Society and Natural Resources | Citations: | Bringing together social Previous research had hypothesized a significant relationship between Aboriginal Pastoralism, Social Embeddedness and Cultural Continuity in Central Australia. How Does This Special Issue Think Relationships Through Water? need to reconsider the relationships between society and natural resources (Strang the profound implications of water for human societies and cultures. Capitalism, globalization, etc., have provoked that all societies around the globe breaking social and cultural structures but relations between individuals. And these relationships are not only environmental but also social, economic and cultural. The physical environment is the heritage, buildings, natural resources, .
Evolutionary biology Cultural—genetic interaction coevolution The interrelationship between two or more inherent systems e. Examples used in this review related to lifestyle and dietary choices Overlaps identified between the following research disciplines and fields: Examples used in this review related to natural resource management Overlaps identified between the following research disciplines and fields: Examples used in this review related to conservation behaviors and management of the natural environment Overlaps identified between the following research disciplines and fields: Further, while humanity, and indeed nature also, has not entirely escaped change, it cannot be assumed that all have been shaped by evolutionary mechanisms 42 Some have been shaped by what Radkau 75 terms as the power shift between humans and nature, which is evolving, as it has and will keep on doing.
As such, the human—nature relationship goes beyond the extent to which an individual believes or feels they are part of nature. It can also be understood as, and inclusive of, our adaptive synergy with nature as well as our longstanding actions and experiences that connect us to nature. Over time, as research and scientific knowledge progresses, it is anticipated that this definition of the human—nature relationship will adapt, featuring the addition of other emerging research fields and avenues.
It is, however, beyond the scope of this paper to review the many ways these concepts have been previously explored 84 — Since then, this shift has seen a major growth in the last 30 years, primarily in areas of positive health and psychology 88 — Despite its broad perspective of human health, the definition has also encountered criticism in relation to its description and its overall reflectance of modern society.
Similarly, others have highlighted the need to distinguish health from happiness 84 or its inability to fully reflect modern transformations in knowledge and development e.
As such, there have been calls to reconceptualize this definition, to ensure further clarity and relevance for our adaptive societies Broadly, health has been measured through two theoretical approaches; subjective and objective First, physical health is defined as a healthy organism capable of maintaining physiological fitness through protective or adaptive responses during changing circumstances While it centers on health-related behaviors and fitness including lifestyle and dietary choicesphysiological fitness is considered one of the most important health markers thought to be an integral measure of most bodily functions involved in the performance of daily physical exercise These can be measured through various means, with examples including questionnaires, behavioral observations, motion sensors, and physiological markers e.
Second, mental health is often regarded as a broad concept to define, encapsulating both mental illness and well-being. It can be characterized as the positive state of well-being and the capacity of a person to cope with life stresses as well as contribute to community engagement activities 83 It has the ability to both determine as well as be determined by a host of multifaceted health and social factors being inextricably linked to overall health, inclusive of diet, exercise, and environmental conditions.
As a result, there are no single definitive indicators used to capture its overall measurement.
The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
This owes in part to the breadth of methods and tends to represent hedonic e. Third, social health can be generalized as the ability to lead life with some degree of independence and participate in social activities Indicators of the concept revolve around social relationships, social cohesion, and participation in community activities.
- Social environment
Further, such mechanisms are closely linked to improving physical and mental well-being as well as forming constructs, which underline social capital. Owing to its complexity, its measurement focuses on strengths of primary networks or relationships e.
Current Knowledge on the Human—Nature Relationship and Health This section summarizes existing theoretical and literature research at the intersection of the human—nature relationship and health, as defined in this review. Physical Health Though it is widely established that healthy eating and regular exercise have major impacts on physical health 98within the past 30 years research has also identified that exposure to nature e.
Empirical research in this domain was first carried out by Ulrich 46 who found that those hospital patients exposed to natural scenery from a window view experienced decreased levels of pain and shorter recovery time after surgery.
In spite of its increasing findings, some have suggested the need for further objective research at the intersect of nature-based parameters and human health 9. This presents inherent difficulty in comparing assessment measures or different data types relative to the size and scale of the variables being evaluated 9.
Further, there still remain evidence gaps in data on what activities might increase levels of physical health as well as limited amount of longitudinal datasets from which the frequency, duration, and causal directions could be inferred Inclusion of a place-based focus to characterise thoughts of value held by natural resources, supported by contingent preference-based expressions, fosters acceptance of a broader range of values.
Increasingly, to address the consequences of our utilitarian relationship with the natural world, the importance of natural resources and ecosystems to human welfare is expressed by transactional concepts that produce a monetary valuation Spangenberg and Settele Conventional monetary analyses convert both ecological and socio-cultural values to a currency based unit derived from artificial market solutions Turner et al.
Daly and Grant are amongst many who have written of the dangers of abstraction with respect to our relationships with natural resources. The creation of abstract entities, described by artificial market scenarios rather than concrete aspects of the physical environment, can work to separate behaviour from its physical consequences on environment Grant For Dalyeconomics in a finite world employed without account for natural capital stocks is ill conceived and ignores outcomes of the community—landscape—natural resource relationship.
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Natural capital stocks become substitutable with human capital Daly and traditional community-based societies move to a modern society model that operates from a position of self-interest Wackernagel and Rees The monetisation of natural resource feeds commercial interests and works to further the role of globalisation that introduces physical and emotional distance between production and consumption and extends the role of self-interested individualistic behaviour Wackernagel and Rees This approach works to dis-embed cultural identity, belief systems, attitudes, and intentions of humankind from any relationship with the natural world Borgstrom Hansson and Wackernagel Folke draws attention to the importance of considering human actions and their impacts upon ecosystem services, as part of a social—ecological system.
Ecologists now recognise that most aspects of ecosystem components, structure, and processes cannot be understood without accounting for the strong, dominant influence of humanity Ellis Community, as a geographical context, describes an area in which social and economic structures interact with ecological systems to meet the daily needs of its inhabitants Brown et al.
According to Brown et al. Community presents a way to integrate the biophysical and ecological attributes of place with social and political processes, and social and cultural meaning Cheng et al. Interaction with a local ecosystem provides a familiar institutional context, within which respondents can feel comfortable enough to express importance in a manner that reflects their preferred behaviour Borgstrom Hansson and Wackernagel, ; Meinard and Grill, This expression of value seeks to capture local distinctiveness and aims to incorporate the role of multiple stakeholder views de Chazal et al.
Society and the values it holds are an integral component of a wider social-ecological system; nature should not be viewed as external to the expression of socio-cultural values Chiesura and de Groot ; Folke Utilisation of a socio-ecological centred approach, where the explicit focus is on relationship between humans and nature, seeks to place the influence of society on landscape as a determinative element in the interactions between the ecological, societal, and economic value domains.
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Here the aim is to describe the nature and fabric of ecosystems by plurality of concept, attribute, and dimension, where complexity results from the multifaceted nature of connections, relationships, and levels.
Conversion of ecological and socio-cultural values to a currency-based unit derived from artificial market scenarios Turner et al. Expressions of socio-cultural value need to consider the relationships between community, landscape and natural resource; they should capture attitudes that influence this relationship and interactions with landscape and natural resource.
The evaluation of natural resources, e. Acknowledgement of the interconnected nature of social and ecological systems Folke and the development of a pluralistic approach to value de Groot et al. Here, the relationships between ecological dynamics, management practices, and institutional arrangements express the inherent adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems de Chazal et al.
Conclusion Value can give meaning to landscape; however, meaning is not an inherent component of the nature of things.
Landscape value as meaning needs a physical space and experiential knowledge, gathered through the process of living in it, to be fully expressed. Human perception, choice, and action drive political, economic, and cultural decisions that lead to or respond to change in ecological systems. This relationship is reciprocal; the physical nature of the environment will influence the socio-cultural interactions with it, but the nature of this interaction will influence the physical characteristics of the environment.
By necessity, such complex systems cannot be evaluated, analysed and understood from a single value-based perspective. Expansion of evaluation techniques which explicitly acknowledge the relationship between humans and nature, accommodating different values and interests, can provide models for sustainable landscape management in real landscapes by applying economic, ecological and socio-cultural balance.
Landscape evaluation must extend beyond the economic concerns of resource commodities to encompass the human relationship with the resource itself. Thus, a multi-faceted approach to attributing value to landscape set within an experiential framework will provide a concrete focal point where discussion can begin.
Cultural Practices and Ecosystem Management
Competing Interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. References Askham Parish Council The Parish Plan, Bardi, A. A new archival approach to the study of values and value-behavior relations: Validation of the value lexicon. Journal of Applied Psychology Relating the philosophy and practice of ecological economics: Linkages between landscapes and human well-being: Rediscovering place and accounting space: Society and Natural Resources Testing a place-based theory for environmental evaluation: