The Human Relationship with Nature

Development and Culture

Urgent environmental problems call for vigorous research and theory on how humans develop a relationship with nature. For eight years, Peter Kahn studied children, young adults, and parents in diverse geographical locations, ranging from an economically impoverished black community in Houston to a remote village in the Brazilian Amazon. In these studies Kahn sought answers to the following questions: How do people value nature, and how do they reason morally about environmental degradation? Do children have a deep connection to the natural world that gets severed by modern society? Or do such connections emerge, if at all, later in life, with increased cognitive and moral maturity? Are there universal features in the human relationship with nature? Kahn's empirical and theoretical findings draw on current work in psychology, biology, environmental behavior, education, policy, and moral development.

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction
  4. 1. The Biophilia Hypothesis: Empirical Support and Amplifying Evidence
  5. 2. The Biophilia Hypothesis: Conceptual Difficulties and Empirical Limitations
  6. 3. The Psychological Framework: Structure and Development
  7. 4. Obligatory and Discretionary Morality
  8. 5. Structural-Developmental Methods
  9. 6. The Houston Child Study
  10. 7. The Houston Parent Study
  11. 8. The Prince William Sound Study
  12. 9. The Brazilian Amazon Study
  13. 10. The Portugal Study
  14. 11. Epistemology, Culture, and the Universal
  15. 12. Environmental Education
  16. Appendixes
  17. References
  18. Index