Contact with Nature as Essential to the Human Experience

Reflections on Pandemic Confinement

in Nature and Culture
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  • 1 Yale University, USA alan.kazdin@yale.edu
  • 2 Catholic University of Valencia, Spain pablo.vidal@ucv.es
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Abstract

Human contact with nature is more important than ever before considering the global confinement brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased urbanization of society, and increased rates of mental disorders and threats to human well-being. This article conveys the importance of contact with nature from three perspectives: historical, sociocultural, and scientific. These perspectives convey the many ways in which contact with nature is essential to human life, the multiple ways in which this is expressed, and the broad range of benefits this has. The case for preserving the natural environment continues to be made in light of the dangers of climate change, the deleterious effects of pollution, and the importance of habitats. We add to the case by underscoring how human well-being has depended on contact with natural environments and how the need for this contact is more salient now than ever before.

Contributor Notes

Alan E. Kazdin is Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University. His research has focused on treatments for mental disorders and other ways of improving mental and physical health outside the confines of the mental health professions. His 800 plus publications include 50 books that focus on research methodology, cognitive and behavioral treatments, parenting and child-rearing, interpersonal violence, and models of delivering mental-health-related interventions worldwide. Email: alan.kazdin@yale.edu

Pablo Vidal-González is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain, and Director of the University Anthropology Research Institute. He researches the relation between people and nature, landscapes, protected areas and rural communities. He is currently coordinating the Mountain Sports: Health, Inclusion and Society research group. His research is published in numerous journals, including Journal of Mediterranean Studies, AGER: Journal of Depopulation and Rural Development Studies, GeoJournal, Anthropozoologica, Geo Sciences, Mobile, Media and Communication, and Sport in Society. Email: pablo.vidal@ucv.es

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