The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
The increase in human population, accompanied by the increase of the need for goods and services of the members of different communities. So, for example, the relationships between genes in the human body, rather than only their individual functions, are the key to the countless ways that human. The Relationship of Man and Nature. TO subdue since human life began, but the time has come for a is an equilibrium in undisturbed nature between food.
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. 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. 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 Mental Health Mental health studies in the context of connecting with nature have also generated a growing research base since the emergence of the Biophilia concept in the mids Supporting research has been well documented in literature during the last few decades.
The question then becomes: Do we have the right to manipulate the land, factory farm animals, and pollute waterways? Or do we have an obligation to reduce our numbers and merely subsist? In order to answer these questions we must rely on our knowledge of Earth, evolution, and our influence on the environment. History Our relationship with nature has historically been one of imbalance and overuse. Nearly every step in human history has unfortunately been accompanied with a leap in environmental degradation.
At first, humans were incredibly in-tune with their surroundings. Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes used to roam the lands, following the ebb and flow of the seasons.
These tribes had a measurable impact on the environment, but their influence was relatively manageable due to their population size. With advancements in technology and agriculture though, humans began to find more efficient ways of sustaining themselves.New relationship between man and nature - Abdelrahman Othman - TEDxMaadi
These advancements allowed for more permanent settlements, which led to rapid population growth and a distancing from nature. As society evolved, populations grew and more and more resources were required to fuel the expansion.
With breakthroughs in agriculture, settlements became more permanent and cities began to take shape. This shift to city life inadvertently led to a distancing from nature. While many people were still in-tune with nature on a subsistent level, the need for more and more resources began to change our regard for nature.
Although our distancing from nature began several thousand years ago with advancements in agriculture and social order, it is the age of industry to which we owe our modern regard for nature.
Our Role and Relationship With Nature
The growth of cities allowed for a separation between people and nature and our obsession with convenience and efficiency beckoned a new perspective on the environment. With technological advancements, nature became something we were no longer apart of and entirely subject to, but something that we could control and profit off of.
The growth of industry enabled humans to truly dominate the landscape and disrupt the natural systems that have been in place for billions of years. As we have removed ourselves further and further from nature, we have developed a willing ignorance of our role and relationship within it. With the growth of cities and trade we have moved from a subsistent, sustainable economy to one of greed and exploitation.
Humans have always had an impact on the environment, but with the age of industry that impact has been ultra-magnified. Population growth has been exponentiated, cities have become the primary place of residence, and the majority of the world is now out of touch with the workings of nature. Although every species plays a unique role in the biosphere and inherently has its own impact, not every species has the cognitive ability to measure their influence or the capacity to change it.
Humans are unique in that respect, which is the root of the problem. We know we are crippling the environment. We have the ability to do something about it.
Therefore, we should make change where change is necessary. Economy The size of our population and its incessant desire to expand has an obvious impact on the environment. However, that impact is magnified with the demands of industry and capitalism.
The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
In his book, Regarding Nature, Andrew McLaughlin identifies industrialism and the capitalist mindset as being especially influential on our regard for nature: Further causing a perceived division from nature is the economic structure we have allowed to infect most of the world. Our relationship with nature has now become purely economic. We do not associate ourselves as a part of nature because we use it for profit.
Forests are cut down for the profits of the lumber industry and to make room for livestock.
Animals that we are undoubtedly related to, that have senses and the ability to socialize are slaughtered by the billions to feed an increasingly carnivorous population. Resources such as oil and food are all unevenly distributed throughout the world and therefore used as a platform for profit.
All the while the environment bears the grunt of our greed. In order to reconstruct our views of nature and understand our place within it, it is important to reconsider our relationship with each other and our surroundings. We have to consider ourselves as part of a bigger picture. Industry and capitalism rely heavily on ignorance and individualism.
Our Role and Relationship With Nature | Environmental Topics and Essays
However, the reality is that we are all dependent upon each other in one way or another. Time for Change Humans play a vital role in nature just like everything else. What separates us from nature though, is the ability to understand our place within it.
This cognitive capacity of ours has historically been the cause of a perceived division between man and nature.