Can walking dogs influence experience of nature and conservation attitudes? Results from a cross-cultural study
Colleony, A., White, R. and Shwartz, A. (2018). Can walking dogs influence experience of nature and conservation attitudes? Results from a cross-cultural study. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107303
© the Authors, 2018
Urbanization threatens both biodiversity and people’s opportunities to interact with nature. This progressive disconnection from the natural world is profoundly concerning as it affects human well-being, health, attitudes and behaviors towards nature . In search of a solution, increasing the quantity of experiences of nature (EoN) has been found to enhance health and well-being benefits , but it remains unclear whether it can also affect attitudes and behaviors towards nature. Additionally, current understanding of the outcomes of EoN is case limited, while this expanding extinction of experience of nature is a global crisis . Here, we conducted a cross-cultural survey among 741 people from France, Israel and the UK to explore how measures of affective and cognitive relation to nature and conservation attitudes differ between dog-owners (who are entailed to go out more often), non-pet and cat-owners. This setting was used as a pseudo-experiment to explore the relationships between EoN, nature relatedness, ecological literacy and conservation attitudes. We first demonstrate that affective and cognitive responses to nature significantly vary across countries. We also confirmed that dog-owners go out more often and in more diverse places. However, we found that although dog-ownership was associated with people’s relatedness to nature, the increased quantity of EoN did not correlate with either increased ecological literacy or conservation attitudes. Thus, the quantity of EoN may not be sufficient for mitigating the extinction of experience and consequently a more profound understanding of the quality of EoN and the means to enhance it are needed. Overall, this study demonstrates the importance of scaling-up from single-country to cross-cultural studies, as a “one-size-fits-all” approach is unlikely to work with respect to appropriate metrics for measuring the quantity and quality of EoN, and when promoting policies that can enhance meaningful interactions with nature.  M. Soga and K. J. Gaston, “Extinction of experience: the loss of human–nature interactions,” Front. Ecol. Environ., vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 94–101, Mar. 2016.  D. F. Shanahan et al., “Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose,” Sci. Rep., vol. 6, p. 28551, Jun. 2016.  T. J. Pett, A. Shwartz, K. N. Irvine, M. Dallimer, and Z. G. Davies, “Unpacking the People–Biodiversity Paradox: A Conceptual Framework,” BioScience, p. biw036, Apr. 2016. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018