Connectedness with Nature and Environmental Concern in Urban Environments
AbstractThe aim of the present work is to highlight the importance of the Connectedness with Nature (CNS) in relation with environmental concern, as well as the proposition mediating role of the CNS between the relationship of psychosocial variables and the environmental concern, specifically, the Inclusion of Nature in the Self (INS), the New Human Interdependence Paradigm (NHIP) and the Affinity Towards Diversity (ATD). Also, frequency of visits to natural spaces is included in the model. Participants are 137 graduate and postgraduate students of the Autonomous University of Madrid (20,4 % men and 78,1 % women, age mean = 23,5). A questionnaire including all the proposed variables has been designed. Comparative and correlate analyses by demographic and psychosocial variables, multiple regression and path analysis were done to know the direct and indirect effects proposed in the hypothesis. After the analyses, the connectedness with nature (CNS) included a homogeneous factor that describes the feeling of uniqueness, emotional nearness, and sense of oneness with the natural world, explaining a type of ecocentric identity and of interrelationship of the person with nature and his/her position in relationship with other living organisms. Beliefs of the New Human Interdependence Paradigm produce one factor that involves the integration of the notion of the new environmental paradigm and the anthropocentric vision in the managing and use that people makes with the environmental resources, within the notion of the sustainable development. Regarding Affinity Towards Diversity, the best arrangement describes only one factor that expresses different kinds of diversity: cultural, sexual, political and biological. The multiple regression analysis using environmental concern as criteria variable shows that the first predictor is the variable connectedness with nature and the frequency of visit to a natural space is the second one. Beliefs of the NHIP is related with the CNS only across the mediating effect of the affinity towards diversity. The mediating effect of the connectedness to nature is confirmed. Beliefs of NHEP and Affinity Towards Diversity seem to act only through the mediating effect of the feeling of identity and oneness that people establish with the natural world. Thereby, the environmental concern would be a kind of postcognitive effect caused by an emotional response in interaction with nature. High levels of emotional response produce high levels of the environmental concern in the same way. In addition, the inclusion of nature in the self is a strong predictor for all variables of the model, except the frequency of visits to a natural space, with which it shares a significant association. Therefore, the visit to a natural space in the urban environment appears as a powerful action for the establishment of guidelines and identities that there promote educational programs of links and respect to the natural available resources.