The Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS)
There is growing consensus that individuals in the Western world need to change their behavior and consumption patterns in profound ways to create an environmentally sustainable society. And while interventions aimed at speciﬁc environmental issues have been shown to be effective, increasingly it is also becoming apparent that the magnitude of the environmental problems we face necessitate a broader intervention aimed at changing our cultural worldview.
The Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS) is a tool for activists and researchers alike to monitor the extent to which they are effective in promoting these necessary changes. For example, the CNS is already being used to test the effects of situational factors and personality characteristics that might impact connection to nature (Mayer, Frantz, Norton, & Rock, 2003). It could also be used to evaluate whether interventions aimed at increasing the contact of children or adults with nature actually increase their sense of feeling connected to nature. Another potential application includes assessing the impact of architectural factors, such as windows looking out onto natural settings, on connection to nature.
We also see the CNS as a vehicle that can bring the less research-oriented discussion of ecologists and ecopsychologists into the research-oriented realm of psychology. The collaboration of empirical approaches and ecopsychological perspectives promises to be fruitful for both disciplines. For example, our results add substance, persuasiveness, and clarity to the argument made by others (Roszak, 1995; Pretty, 2002) that aspects of our modern lifestyle relate to our sense of feeling connected to nature. Similarly, the ecopsychological perspective has something to offer more empirically minded researchers.
In conceiving of the need to belong, Baumeister & Leary (1995) more broadly as the need for connectedness to others and to nature adds another dimension to the social-psychological theorizing that broadens this perspective in important ways. That a sense of feeling connected to nature has now been shown to predict life satisfaction adds an empirical ﬁnding to a discussion that has lacked empirical facts. This ﬁnding highlights the psychological signiﬁcance of the human-nature relationship not just for the well-being of nature, but for humans as well.
__Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529.
__Mayer, F. S., Frantz, C. M., Norton, C., & Rock, M. (2003). Self-awareness and connectedness to nature. Paper presented at the American Psychological Society, Atlanta.
__Mayer, F. S., & Frantz, C. M. (2004). The connectedness to nature scale: A measure of individuals’ feeling in community with nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24(4), 503-515. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.897.7684&rep=rep1&type=pdf&fbclid=IwAR2S8wHRFa7Tte_WrbRRUMMhLHYojXbYafrP6FIS3FQzXo386GZs8kfoIGo
__Pretty, J. (2002). Agriculture: Reconnecting people, land, and nature. London: Earthscan.
__Roszak, T. (2001). The voice of the earth: An exploration of ecopsychology. Phanes Press.