In Connection to Nature, Deep Ecology, and Conservation Social Science: Human-Nature Bonding and Protecting the Natural World , Christian Diehm analyzes the relevance of the philosophy of deep ecology to contemporary discussions of human-nature connectedness. Focusing on deep ecologists' notion of "identification" with nature, Diehm argues that deep ecological theory is less conceptually problematic than is sometimes thought, and offers valuable insights into what a sense of connection to nature entails, what its attitudinal and behavioural effects might be, and how it might be nurtured and developed. This book is closely informed by, and engages at length with, conservation social science, which Diehm draws on to assess the claims of deep ecology theorists, resolve long-standing problems associated with their work, investigate the impacts of time outdoors on human-nature bonding, and critically review the biophilia hypothesis. Emphasizing the foundational role of ecologically-inclusive identities in pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours, Diehm demonstrates that having a sense of connection to nature is more important than many environmental advocates have realized, and that deep ecology has much to add to the increasingly pressing conversations about it.
Foreword by Holmes Rolston III
Introduction: Connection to Nature and the Enduring Influence of Deep Ecology
Chapter 1: Self-Realization and Identification with Nature
Chapter 2: Ecological Identity Matters: Deep Ecology and Conservation Psychology
Chapter 3: Connection to Nature and Environmental Values
Chapter 4: We Belong Outside: Connectedness to Nature and Outdoor Experience
Chapter 5: Loving More-than-Human Life: Connectedness to Nature, Deep Ecology, and Biophilia
About the Author
Christian Diehm is a professor of philosophy and environmental ethics program coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
"Chris Diehm here confronts two related questions 'Whatever happened to deep ecology?' and 'Is deep ecology dead?' To the first he answers that the spirit of deep ecology now animates those of the social sciences that have taken an environmental turn. To the second he answers that news of its death has been greatly exaggerated."
– J. Baird Callicott, University of North Texas
"Chris Diehm has written a rich, generous, and thoughtful exploration into the meanings and significance of 'identification with nature.' By accounting for the full array of values that people can and do express in advocacy for and defense of the more than human world, Diehm breathes new life into the discussions around non-instrumental bases for environmental concern. His ideas of 'identification-as-belonging' and 'identification-as-kinship' break new theoretical ground and shine a spotlight on the significance of Arne Naess's deep ecology and its broader significance for enhancing decision-making to improve quality of life for all on a planet in peril."
– Harold Glasser, Western Michigan University
"With the beginning of the 21st century, research on the human connection with nature has surged, in the sense of people's emotional affiliation with nature, understanding of interdependence, and motivation to protect the natural world. For the 'conservation social sciences' that study this subject, Diehm shows how the philosophy of deep ecology can help clarify core ideas. Demonstrating an impressive grasp of research in environmental education and conservation psychology, he draws parallels between discoveries in these fields and principles of deep ecology, building a case for free access to nature across the spectrum from cities to wilderness, and formative experiences in nature that can be achieved through simple means."
– Louise Chawla, University of Colorado Boulder
"Diehm's accessible book is a nuanced and thoughtful account of human-nature connection. It demonstrates a depth of thinking that is much needed in this time of urgent global challenges. Over 70 years ago, people began calling for an end to the destruction wrought on other species and wild places. Today, academics, activists, and scientists are ringing alarm bells on the perilous state of human existence. This book is a must read for those wanting to better understand the ideas behind human-nature connectivity. It is also an invaluable resource for those advocating for decisive action to address environmental harm and sustain humanity."
– Kate Booth, University of Tasmania
"While some (including myself) have wondered if deep ecology withered away under the heat of its critics, Diehm's book suggests that it may have been picked up by and incorporated into the environmental social sciences. With his eyes wide open to the criticisms of deep ecology, Diehm argues that empirical research into environmental place attachment and identity confirms the merits of deep ecological theorizing about identification with nature. This book offers a masterful map of both the philosophical terrain surrounding deep ecology and the scientific literature in conservation psychology and related fields. Diehm shows us that rather than being defunct or out of date, deep ecology can be a fecund site of mutual benefit between environmental philosophy and environmental science."
– Nathan Kowalsky, St. Joseph's College