Dark Nature: Exploring potential benefits of nocturnal nature-based interaction for human and environmental health

R. Bell, K.N. Irvine, Caroline Wilson, S.L. Warber

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    Abstract

    This article considers ‘Dark Nature’, a term proposed to encompass both the nocturnal environment and the nature-interaction activities available therein. Current thoughts surrounding nature-interaction are briefly outlined and a more holistic view of nature-based interaction is suggested that includes the nocturnal environment. We report on a small pilot study focusing on stargazing as an example of a Dark Nature activity. The study utilized a short questionnaire incorporating open- and closed-ended questions coupled with the Connectedness to Nature Scale to explore to what extent stargazing could be considered a Dark Nature activity and what aspects of such an activity may benefit wellbeing. The results suggest that nature connectedness was higher for those with more years of stargazing experience and for those who indicated noticing wildlife while stargazing. Participants highlighted a range of benefits, including a sense of personal growth from developing skills to experiencing positive emotions and a variety of transcendent thoughts and experiences. Participants’ responses suggest stargazing could be considered a Dark Nature activity in that it does not just take place in the dark but that those involved interact with the nocturnal environment. As such stargazing may offer benefits similar to those experienced by people taking part in daytime activities within natural environments. Using the study as a starting point for a wider discussion regarding Dark Nature activities and their potential benefits to both human quality of life and concern for nocturnal environments, we outline a range of beneficial features that the nocturnal environment may offer as a setting for nature-based activities.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of Ecopsychology
    Volume5
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    quality of life
    environmental health
    human health
    wildlife
    natural environment

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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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    Dark Nature: Exploring potential benefits of nocturnal nature-based interaction for human and environmental health. / Bell, R.; Irvine, K.N.; Wilson, Caroline; Warber, S.L.

    In: European Journal of Ecopsychology, Vol. 5, 2014.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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