The eyes4earth initiative was presented today at the Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress. Matthew Zylstra delivered an oral and poster presentation titled: “Meaningful nature experiences – the ultimate catalyst for reconnecting to parks and biodiversity?”
Matt outlined why such experiences may be critical in facilitating an experiential or felt understanding of ‘interconnectedness’. Numerous keynote speakers during the week stressed that an understanding of ‘interconnectedness is critical in our quest to reconnect society to nature and in ensuring sustainable social-ecological systems. Matt noted that for many of us this idea of interconnectedness is something which might only, if we’re lucky, be able to grasp at an intellectual level and therefore we not fully be able to appreciate its implications. Matt suggested that meaningful (peak, synchronistic) nature experience might be one avenue or portal through which once can directly experience this ‘interconnectedness’.
Matt also shed some light on what meaningful nature experiences might be understood or defined as, their relevance to conservation and sustainability, the threats they face through environmental pressures such as exotic weeds and, finally, the implications of all this for parks management and planning.
The oral presentation summarized some of the PhD research being carried out by Matthew Zylstra through Stellenbosch University and the TsamaHUB. Relevant aspects of this research process are being communicated through eyes4earth.org