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Reflections on the first month

Monday 29th January 2018

~By Sara L Middleton

It has been one month since the launch of the Human Nature Stories Project! I would firstly like to thank everyone who has given such positive feedback about the Project. I have been taken aback by the messages I have received. The process of interviewing people from many countries and diverse backgrounds has been an enriching experience.

What I found interesting when I first asked people the question: What does nature mean to you? A common response was:

“This is not something I have really thought of.”

Some took a few minutes to reflect and write their account of nature, whilst someone took almost an hour. On one occasion, a short interview turned into a two-hour conversation about nature, the importance of conserving our forests, understanding the role of human behaviour in solving the big environmental issues we are currently facing and how technology has taken inspiration from nature.

I have come to value these conversations with people. There have been a few nature stories that have been particularly poignant, such as the teacher from Tajikistan who wrote:

“…My friends, I call you to take care and to keep nature safe. Remember your children and grandchildren will be living there.”

The other was a sociologist from Athens who summarised their feelings about nature as:

“Freedom”

They felt nature was an escape from the chaotic urban landscapes.

 

Summary of the nature stories so far

So far, I have conducted interviews in four countries, with people from a dozen countries. Whilst every nature story has been a unique account of what nature means to people, there have been some similar themes, like ‘peace’, ‘relaxation’, ‘happy’ and ‘safe’. The word cloud below shows the most frequently used words in the nature stories. The larger the word, the more times it has been mentioned.

A word cloud showing the most frequently used words in the nature stories so far.

 

I am looking forward to seeing if these themes remain as more stories are added to the Project.

 

 

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