"Nature is Where There Is No Electricity and Wifi"

Understanding Children's Connectedness with Nature through Their Images of Nature and Emotional Affinity towards Nature


  • Reineke S. van Tol
  • Birgit H.M. Elands
  • Arjen E. Buijs
  • Matthijs G.C. Schouten


connectedness with nature, images of nature, emotional affinity toward nature, children, nature conservation


This study explored nature connectedness among childrenin a Western contextthrough focus group interviews and open-ended questionnaires with children in fourprimary schools in The Netherlands. Our study defined nature connectedness as a combination of individuals’ images of nature and their emotional affinity towards nature.The results show that most participating children have rather dualistic and human-centered images of nature. Most of the children enjoyedbeing in nature, but showedlimited emotional affection towardthe natural world. Moreover,images of humans and nature asenemies and of humans as having lost their oneness with nature (“Paradise lost”) emerge from this study. The nature/culture divide and marginal affection found in this study are worrisome for future care for theEarth.