Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Bell S.;Leyshon C.;Foley R.;Kearns R.
Geography Compass
The “healthy dose” of nature: A cautionary tale
21 ()
Optional Fields
embodiment green prescriptions green space health nature social practice well-being
© 2018 The Author(s) Geography Compass © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Growing cross-disciplinary interest in understanding if, how, and why time spent with nature can contribute to human health and well-being has recently prompted efforts to identify an ideal healthy dose of nature; exposure to a specific type of nature at a specified frequency and duration. These efforts build on longstanding attempts to prescribe nature in some way, most recently in the form of so-called “green prescriptions.” In this critical discussion paper, we draw on key examples from within the fields of health and cultural geography to encourage deeper and more critical reflection on the value of such reductionist dose-response frameworks. By foregrounding the relationally emergent qualities of people's dynamic nature encounters, we suggest such efforts may be both illusory and potentially exclusionary for the many individuals and groups whose healthy nature interactions diverge from the statistical average or “normal” way of being. We suggest value in working towards alternative more-than-human approaches to health and well-being, drawing on posthumanist theories of social practice. We present two practice examples—beach-going and citizen science—to demonstrate how a focus on social practices can better cater for the diverse and dynamic ways in which people come to conceptualise, embody, and interpret nature in their everyday lives. We close by reflecting on the wider societal transformations required to foster greater respect for embodied difference and diversity.
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