What is your relationship to nature ?

What is nature ? But, what is nature for you ? How do you interact with it ?

Those are some questions I was asking to myself, but moreover I wanted to have different answers than mine about it. So I did a few interviews to have some other opinions about the perception of nature.

I asked three friends : Andrea (24yo, Spain), Julien (23yo, France) and Ina (23yo, Taïwan) to tell me more about their relationship to nature.

I asked them the following questions :

  1. Can you draw/explain in your own words what is nature for you ?
  2. What is the strongest memory you have of you with nature ? What emotions did you feel ?
  3. How would describe your relationship to nature ? How do you perceive it ?
  4. How often are you in contact with it ? In what ways ?
  5. Do you miss its contact ?
  6. What do you think about how we treat nature nowadays ?

From those interviews, some common answers emerged.

Here are two drawings I got.

In none of them there are humans. The interviewees explained to me that for them, nature didn’t really includes humans. One of the reason is that everything that has been built by humans is not nature. Another answer was that nature was everything that is without human beings.

So only with this first question, I was able to see how in people’s mind, nature was a concept in opposition to the human society.

To the question about the memories, I got two stories talking about volcanos (in Iceland and Italy) and one was about the first time smelling odors of nature. It was the first hike she was doing with her family, and her father taught her that the things she could smell were things of the nature. This story was really cute because it shows how genuine children are and are curious about nature. As adults, we don’t really notice anymore the smell of nature.

Interviewees also agreed that nature was out of the cities. They were all urban people and contact with nature was really rare for them, or with “organised” nature as parks, flowerbeds, pets… But for them, it is also true that we couldn’t live entirely in the nature as past ages because it is too wild for us nowadays.

To the question What do you think about how we treat nature nowadays ?, they all tell me about ecological problems, and they were not satisfied about the current state.

Those interviews confirmed that I was right about the separation we make today between us and nature. It’s perceived as something appart from us. But unfortunately for me, none of them seemed to be really interested in being close to nature again. Why ? Maybe because nature is so excluded from our lives that we forgot it ? Or that we’ve freed ourselves from its boundaries ? There is something to explore about that question of the benefits nature is offering to us, or why we should be close to it again.

To go further, I should continue to do interviews, maybe with people form different ages (grand parents, children) or people that lives out of cities, or people that have really special relationship to nature.

Mindmap of the interviews