"Nature Is Where There Is No Electricity and Wifi": Understanding Children's Connectedness with Nature through Their Images of Nature and Emotional Affinity towards Nature

Tol, Reineke S. Van; Elands, Birgit H.M.; Buijs, Arjen E.; Schouten, Matthijs G.C.


This study explored nature connectedness among children in a Western context through focus group interviews and open-ended questionnaires with children in four primary schools in The Netherlands. Our study defined nature connectedness as a combination of individuals' images of nature and their emotional affinity towards nature. The results show that most participating children have rather dualistic and human-centered images of nature. Most of the children enjoyed being in nature, but showed limited emotional affection toward the natural world. Moreover, images of humans and nature as enemies and of humans as having lost their oneness with nature ("Paradise lost") emerge from this study. The nature/culture divide and marginal affection found in this study are worrisome for future care for the Earth