The discourse of Art & Nature – Bringing emotions, feelings & experiences to the nature conservation discourse

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


Both Art and Nature provide immense intangible benefits to humans. Listening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony can elevate us to an empowered and inspired state of mind. Similarly, standing on the top of a mountain can immerse us in a deep sense of wonderment and meaning capable of creating a lifelong memory. It is no wonder that Art and Nature (tourism) each shift billions of dollars every year around the world.
Humanity’s appreciation for art has seen western culture develop a rich discourse about the tangible and intangible attributes of art pieces and styles. A language of emotions, senses, experiences and aesthetics has been used in combination with a language of social, historical, contextual and technical aspects. (cont...) 3
Such has helped us create an individual and collective understanding and appreciation of art, as well as of our own
attachment and connection with it.
In contrast, western culture has developed a relatively immature language with respect to Nature. While aesthetics
and experiences are superficially incorporated into Nature tourism branding and marketing, they are mostly
absent from the Nature Conservation science rhetoric. In the last half century, Aldo Leopold’s views of wilderness,
ethics and aesthetics of Nature have barely found productive ground, and Nature has become largely the subject
of strict scientific analysis. Established tools to evaluate Nature, such as ecosystem services and biodiversity
offsets indicate an incapacity to recognize and describe the intangible and non-material attributes of Nature and
of our connection with it.
Language is pivotal for knowledge building and transfer, and it influences decision making. It also has the
potential to unite and spur communities to action when applied to Nature. We argue that the language of Nature
Conservation needs to broaden to encapsulate aesthetics and human emotions, senses and experiences of Nature.
We discuss this topic by drawing parallels with our collective understanding of, and connection with, art and
explore potential frameworks that could support the broadening of the Nature rhetoric.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventEcoPeoPle Symposium: Thinking Environment, Feeling Nature - University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 15 Feb 201815 Feb 2018


ConferenceEcoPeoPle Symposium: Thinking Environment, Feeling Nature
Internet address

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