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A symbiotic relationship with nature is essential to sustain both human well being and well being of the ecosystem. There is plenty of evidence to support the claim that interaction with nature is essential for physical, mental and spiritual well-being. New and emerging research also indicates that close interaction with nature helps adopt environment friendly practices. Some of the key conceptualizations exploring these interrelationships are how we  relate to nature, how we include ourselves in nature, and how connected we feel with nature.

The psychological underpinnings are rooted in the biophilia hypothesis– that humans possess an inherent quality to connect with life and life-like processes. Humans are social beings and their need to relate is fulfilled by making connections in forms of relationships. However, in present times of technology and information overload there is no time to nurture relationships with nature. Relationships require attention and time to develop the awareness, ability to see, to feel and to take action!  It is necessary to cultivate awareness of the self in one’s surroundings, to be present in moment to moment experiences and to be a mindful human being. It is by seeing other beings in the environment, not simply as things to be used by humanity but as beings in their own right, does human beings move toward enriching relationships not only with other humans but also with other beings in nature.

According to environmental psychologists, there is a strong body of evidence to suggest humans have a fundamental need to experience and feel connected with nature. The survival of the human race depends on the ecosystems  and biodiversity around us. The question that is to ask is what can be done to promote a more positive relationship with nature and how can we help the current generation of learners to disengage with unsustainable patterns of behaviours? 

A good starting point is to begin by understanding the relationship between man and nature from various perspectives – that from science , art and philosophy.  With this intent, SPHEEHA is initiating a section that will cover the scientific research that has explored the human- nature relationship from perspectives of art, culture, psychology, social science and neurosciences.

Future blog entries will cover topics such as:

    1. Nature and wellbeing(mental health) (Psychology perspective)

    2. Nature and neurotransmitters and your hormones (Neuroscience perspective)

    3. Nature and sustainability ( environmental science/conservation perspective)

    4. Nature and culture ( religion and philosophical perspective)

    5. Nature and Education ( pedagogical perspective)

SPHEEHA Blog Guest Author

Pooja Sahni

Scientist & Entrepreneur

Pooja is Principal Research Scientist at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. She holds a PhD in Environmental Neuroscience from IIT Delhi. She is also the Founder and CTO at QuditBrain.