Nature Connectedness & Sustainability

What is the link between nature connection and sustainable behaviours?

There are increasing calls for a greater emphasis on (re)connecting people with nature to leverage and foster improved sustainability outcomes and behaviours. The correlation between increases in nature connection with increased engagement in pro-environmental behaviours now overwhelmingly supported with a range of evidence too compelling to ignore. Recent research concludes that psychological measures of how connected we are to nature, known as nature connectedness, provides an excellent indicator of:

  • Household pro-environmental behaviours (e.g. recycling, buying locally sourced food, eco-friendly products, walking or cycling);
  • Pro-nature conservation behaviours (e.g. supporting nature conservation and volunteering); and 
  • Actions on climate change.

“Interconnection within nature reaches beyond the simple knowledge transmission of social-ecological
interactions traditionally offered at educational institutions. It is not just contact with nature but
the nature of the contact that matters most.”

Planetary Health Alliance Education Framework 
Harvard School of Public Health (2021)

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