How did our relationship with nature become broken, why does it matter and how can we fix it? From a past in which we were embedded in the natural world, revolutions in farming, science and industry have seen the human bond with nature eroded with the promise of prosperity offering happiness and meaning in life. This mindset may have delivered comfortable living for many, but there is growing recognition that the root cause of wildlife loss and the warming climate is people's disconnection from nature, which is also an important factor in our mental health. Yet solutions focus on technical fixes to treat the symptoms of that damaged relationship, such as reducing carbon emissions and increasing habitat. What we urgently need is a whole new way of thinking.
Reconnection explores our hidden links with nature through the science of nature connectedness, setting out a way to revivify the relationship across society. Here is a route to a meaningful life that unites both human and nature's well-being for a truly sustainable future. What's more, everybody has a role to play. From business leaders to conservationists, teachers to medics, from drivers to walkers, we can all reduce the damage we do and find new ways to bring nature into our lives. This timely book considers the problems scientifically, and then offers simple, practical, positive steps for how we can all work towards a better world.
Part I – The need for reconnection with nature
1. A Broken Relationship with Nature
2. The Great Theft
3. The Technological Ape
4. Hidden Connections with Nature
5. Nature Connectedness
Part II – Benefits of reconnection with nature
6. Good for You: Wellbeing Benefits of Reconnection
7. How Does Reconnection Bring Wellbeing?
8. Good for Nature: Environmental Benefits of Reconnection
9. One Health
Part III – Creating a new relationship with nature
10. The Good Things in Nature
11. Pathways to Reconnection
12. Scaling Up: Policies for Connection
13. Tools for Change
14. Creating a Nature-Connected Society
15. Designing a Connected Future
Miles Richardson is a Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, where he founded the Nature Connectedness Research Group. He has pioneered widely adopted and award-winning approaches to improving the human–nature relationship. Author of dozens of scientific papers, he advises nationally and internationally on uniting human and nature’s wellbeing.
"Reconnection is a timely, clear plea to understand just how disconnected we have become from nature. Until it is spelled out, it is easy to assume things are not so bad, that reconnection is just a matter of being more aware. This book shows that the fracture lines go deeper and are more damaging than they might appear on the surface, but it is ultimately a hopeful book, offering solutions that make a greener future seem vibrant and joyful – worth striving for."
– Mary Colwell, author of Beak, Tooth & Claw
"Thought provoking, brilliantly researched, and surprising in some of its findings. Also extremely readable which, given the importance of its subject, is helpful for those of us without academic backgrounds. A must-read for educators, policy makers, and anyone else trying to raise awareness of the benefits and importance of Nature Reconnection."
– Brigit Strawbridge Howard, author of Dancing with Bees
"Reconnection has the makings of a game-changing classic: hugely sophisticated thought and ideas framed within the most direct and simple language. Any schoolchild could understand it. In fact, all young people and everyone else concerned for the future of life on Earth should read it, if we want to end the nature crisis in our midst."
– Mark Cocker, author of One Midsummer's Day
"Nature Connection is such an interesting topic. Aside from the physical adventures and mental joy that nature brings, that relationship is vital for our world and it is vital that we care enough to acknowledge the damage we are doing and take urgent steps to fix it."
– Alastair Humphreys, author of Microadventures and The Doorstep Mile
"Reconnection is a joy to read! It's a thought-provoking, inspiring book which highlights the ever increasing need to step outside and re-embrace the natural world into our lives. For the benefit of individual wellbeing, for communities and for the health of our environment, I sincerely hope everybody reads this and seeks a closer relationship to nature."
– Megan McCubbin, zoologist, conservationist and TV presenter
"Richardson has produced a rich, timely and painstakingly researched account of what's gone wrong in our relationship with nature and most urgently, how it might be fixed. It's never mattered more, has it? I wish every policy maker, educators, economists and land managers would read and act on this book."
– Amy-Jane Beer, naturalist and author of The Flow
"A widening separation of people from nature threatens our physical health, our mental wellbeing and the very survival of our civilisation. In Reconnection, Miles Richardson poetically and expertly explores this monumental issue of our time and how we might go about fixing it."
– Ben Goldsmith, philanthropist and environmentalist
"It's so valuable to see all the studies brought together and clearly explained – not only as evidence for the instincts we already have about how much connection to nature matters, but also to dispel some myths about how that connection works (or doesn't), and how it might be improved. I found it absolutely fascinating and I can see it making an important contribution to so many sectors."
– Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley
"This is a book with muscle. Not a softly aspirational book about belonging and nature but an incisively written work that examines the needs that humans have for seeing themselves as part of the natural world. Reconnection is an important book that moved me, made me think and, made me smile."
– Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Eden Project
"This book is both authoritative and personal, warm and carefully scientific. It busts myths, challenges assumptions and presents truths we can no longer ignore. And crucially, Richardson offers a compelling and practical vision of what we need to do – and why – to change our relationship with Nature. This is the how-to manual and a must-read for anyone searching for the tools to improve human lives and Nature's future."
– Mary-Ann Ochota, broadcaster and anthropologist
"Miles Richardson expertly balances threat with hope in this timely and brilliant book. A must-read for anyone who values the natural world and our connection to it."
– Hilary McGrady, Director General at the National Trust
"We're all increasingly aware of how important our relationship with Nature is for our own good and for the good of the natural world. Instinctively we know we are not where we need to be. This book sets out in an accessible and thought provoking way the science that underpins that growing understanding and what we can all do as individuals and as a society to rebuild that relationship before it's too late."
– Beccy Speight, CEO, RSPB
"As Miles Richardson says; nature makes sense. After reading his book you too will be in no doubt."
– David Lindo, The Urban Birder
"Fascinating, poignant and hopeful. Reconnection should be mandatory reading for us all."
– Dr. Mya-Rose Craig, author of Birdgirl