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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8837-8854; doi:10.3390/su7078837

From Environmental Connectedness to Sustainable Futures: Topophilia and Human Affiliation with Nature

School of Education and Environment, Kristianstad University, Kristianstad SE-291 88, Sweden
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Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract

Human affiliation with nonhuman nature is an important dimension of environmental concern and support for pro-environmental attitudes. A significant theory of human connectedness with nature, the Biophilia Hypothesis, suggests that there exists a genetically based inclination for human affiliation with the biological world. Both support and challenge to the Biophilia Hypothesis are abundant in the literature of environmental psychology. One response that both challenges and builds upon the Biophilia Hypothesis is the Topophilia Hypothesis. The Topophilia Hypothesis has extended the ideas of biophilia to incorporate a broader conception of nonhuman nature and a co-evolutionary theory of genetic response and cultural learning. While the Topophilia Hypothesis is a new idea, it is built upon long-standing scholarship from humanistic geography and theories in human evolution. The Topophilia Hypothesis expands previous theory and provides a multidisciplinary consideration of how biological selection and cultural learning may have interacted during human evolution to promote adaptive mechanisms for human affiliation with nonhuman nature via specific place attachment. Support for this possible co-evolutionary foundation for place-based human affiliation with nonhuman nature is explored from multiple vantage points. We raise the question of whether this affiliation may have implications for multifunctional landscape management. Ultimately, we propose that nurturing potential topophilic tendencies may be a useful method to promote sustainable efforts at the local level with implications for the global. View Full-Text
Keywords: affiliation; biophilia; human evolution; multifunctional landscape management; place; sustainability; topophilia affiliation; biophilia; human evolution; multifunctional landscape management; place; sustainability; topophilia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Beery, T.; Jönsson, K.I.; Elmberg, J. From Environmental Connectedness to Sustainable Futures: Topophilia and Human Affiliation with Nature. Sustainability 2015, 7, 8837-8854.

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