On Nature and the Environment


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About this Research Topic

When we wake up in the morning and brush our teeth, we use chemicals like triclosan that go down the drain with the wastewater and into the treatment system.

Philosophy of Nature and the Environment - UEA

When we shower or wash our hands we use surfactants. When we wash clothes, we use bleach and fabric softening agents. We on cook frying pans that contain perfluorinated chemicals. And before leaving our apartment we use personal care products that most likely contain benzophenone or octocrylene, which has been detected in dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean. Waste disposal is a big issue — what we do with our plastics, for example.


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Our daily lives can have a big impact on nature, and we are now beginning to look to nature to find solutions to our environmental problems. For World Environment Day June 5, , we have collected research on the many aspects of our close and complex relationship with nature, from measuring our impact on biodiversity to monitoring human interaction with wild bears in Bhutan. With this collection we hope to highlight not only the breadth of research on this topic but also the depth of our connection to nature.


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To make a significant and lasting difference, these solutions must be recognized, supported and adopted by policy makers around the world. Research is fundamental to effective policies that safeguard nature, which we need for the future. Research and policy is a closed loop feedback system that cannot be separated: a lot of climate and environmental research is funded by the public sector; the results should always give new ideas for legislation.

Policy makers look to research for empirical evidence that supports legislation. What chemicals need to be regulated? How should we dispose of our plastic waste? Aggregated results are just as important, and there is a growing demand for data analytics showing what topics are emerging and trending in science globally.

Planet was the largest theme in terms of research output, highlighting how central the environment is to sustainability. More recent data reveals that in alone, nearly 37, scholarly papers were published on this theme globally, representing nearly half 46 percent of the total sustainability science output in that year.

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A robust evidence base is crucial to sound policy-making. Our reports aim to provide such data-lead insights to policymakers to help inform their discussions and decisions. This kind of information can contribute to strategically designed policies that help us achieve global goals through research. Conservation is critical to protecting biodiversity, which is often severely impacted by human activity. Two of the papers in this collection — both in Biological Conservation — show how a better understanding of the human element of our relationship with nature can be used to protect it.

In one study , a team led by researchers from the University of Washington say we need to consider people when planning and implementing conservation projects — including their livelihoods, cultural traditions and dependence on natural resources. Lead author Dr. When people are ignored and conservation measures are put in, we see opposition, conflict and often failure.

A new generation of nature laws

These problems require the best available evidence, and that includes having both natural and social scientists at the table. In particular, they conclude that by ensuring that people are more closely involved in conservation, the social sciences could help facilitate more socially acceptable and effective conservation policies. In another paper , researchers from the USA, Denmark, Spain and Australia say citizen scientists — members of the general public who get involved in research — could have a much greater impact on biodiversity globally.

They compiled a database of citizen science and community-based wildlife monitoring programs and found that currently only birds, butterflies and plants are monitored this way on a large scale. The researchers say that with more resources, citizen science programs could be used more widely outside of the US and Europe, and for more species. According to lead author Dr. People play a vital role in protecting nature, but some of the problems we have caused can only be solved by harnessing nature. The idea is to use the nature to solve ecological and societal problems. One example they give is reducing the risk of flooding by creating or restoring ponds or wetlands, which provide important habitats for wildlife, among other benefits.

The authors acknowledge great opportunity, while making clear that to be successful, the approach will require transdisciplinary work.

12 Best Nature Quotes - World Environment Day

They conclude:. Nature-based solutions offer opportunities for encouraging mainstreaming of environmental targets into sectors in policy, business and practice that might not traditionally consider or value the environment, thereby strengthening the potential for strong sustainability in decision making. The first line of articles will center upon cutting-edge research showing how interacting with nature, can affect health, well-being, and overall improve cognition The first line of articles will center upon cutting-edge research showing how interacting with nature, can affect health, well-being, and overall improve cognition and affect.

Articles in this line will stress in what ways nature can improve psychological functioning and health and also discuss the theories and evidence as to why nature can improve psychological functioning. For this line, we welcome submission of articles that discuss the psychological, health and well-being benefits from interacting with nature as well as submissions that focus on theoretical considerations and underlying mechanisms that lead to the restorative effects of interacting with nature.

This brings us to the second line of articles which will center upon the psychological mechanisms that make individuals more or less likely to accept the seriousness of environmental challenges such as climate change.


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Given the new cutting-edge research in this field we may be able to make individuals more proactive in the protection of the environment and more accepting of policy measures required to mitigate climate change. We see this research topic as a way for psychological scientists to contribute substantially to an important area of public debate and policy. For this line we welcome articles that will focus on ways in which people respond to various framings of policy relevant information and how morality may play into the individuals policy views that center on climate change and environmental protection.

Important Note : All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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