Human health and well-being are inextricably linked to nature; our connection to the natural world is part of our biological inheritance. In this engaging book, a pioneer in the field of biophilia—the study of human beings' inherent affinity for nature—sets forth the first full account of nature's powerful influence on the quality of our lives. Stephen Kellert asserts that our capacities to think, feel, communicate, create, and find meaning in life all depend upon our relationship to nature. And yet our increasing disconnection and alienation from the natural world reflect how seriously we have undervalued its important role in our lives.
Weaving scientific findings together with personal experiences and perspectives, Kellert explores specific human tendencies—including affection, aversion, intellect, control, aesthetics, exploitation, spirituality, and communication—to discover how they are influenced by our relationship with nature. He observes that a beneficial relationship with the natural world is an instinctual inclination, but must be earned. He discusses how we can restore the balance in our relationship by means of changes in childhood development, education, conservation, building design, ethics, and everyday life. Kellert's moving book provides exactly what is needed now: a fresh understanding of how much our essential humanity relies on being a part of the natural world.