Biophilia in language – can you help?

walking in autumnal woodland.jpg
Photo courtesy Dom Brenton https://dombrenton.com/

I am on the hunt for words or expressions – in any language – which describe a particular sensation or feeling people get from being in nature, especially forests, but it could be any kind of nature.

A few weeks ago I posted about ‘komorebi’ – the Japanese word for sunlight filtering through leaves, and Dr James Braund (University of Auckland) alerted to me to the wonderful German word, ‘Waldeinsamkeit’, meaning ‘being alone in the woods and experiencing the surrounding natural world on a profoundly sensory, if not spiritual level’.

I also found an interesting blog about the Norwegian term ‘friluftsliv‘, first coined by the Norwegian playwright and poet, Henrik Ibsen, to describe the value of spending time in nature for spiritual and physical wellbeing.

But I would be very interested to hear about any other words or phrased used in other languages (including any in English – I am struggling to think of any).

‘New Zealand’s Rivers’ is impressive for its scope, clarity, poignancy and power

Rivers coverIt is a daunting to have your work reviewed by someone as well respected in the field of environmental history as Graeme Wynn, Professor Emeritus in Geography, University of British Columbia. A relief to find it is a positive review, and an very nice indeed to read his assessment that “Catherine Knight is set fair to take her place among the country’s leading environmental historians”. Continue reading

‘Komorebi’ – sunlight filtering through leaves

skyward-view-of-kohekohe-grove
Light through the leaves of a kohekohe grove in Waikanae, Kapiti Coast. C. Knight

As part of my literature review for my book exploring the connection between nature and wellbeing in New Zealand, I have been reading Shinrin-yoku: The art and science of forest-bathing, by Dr Qing Li, who has researched the subject extensively in Japan.

Shinrinyoku LiIn describing the Japanese experience of spending time in a forested environment, he draws the reader’s attention to the Japanese word ‘komorebi’, 木漏れ日 in Japanese characters, meaning ‘sunlight filtering through leaves’ (木 = tree, 漏れ = leak through, 日 = sun). Continue reading

Nature & wellbeing in NZ – case study ideas please

nature_and_wellbeingAs you may have seen from an earlier post Can you help? The connection between nature & wellbeing  I am interested in exploring the connection between nature and wellbeing as the subject of my next book. In that earlier post, I asked for help finding existing literature on the topic, particularly in the New Zealand context. And I got some super-helpful responses, so thank you so much to everyone who responded! Continue reading

Coming up on 1 November: Exploring Manawatu’s past through photographs

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Looking forward to this event this Thursday November 1, as part of Local History Week 2018.

I will be taking the audience on a journey of discovery of the Manawatu’s past through the photographs of C.E. Wildbore and others. The event also marks the launch of Totara Press’s beautiful new (French-flapped) edition of Ravaged Beauty: An environmental history.

Wildbore: A photographic legacy will also be for sale at the event.

See event details here

Can you help? The connection between nature & wellbeing

woman in forest

I see that a focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week was ‘Letting nature in’, encouraging New Zealanders to get out and connect with nature, in light of its proven benefits for mental and spiritual wellbeing. (A survey undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation last year found that 95 per cent of New Zealanders reported a lift in mood after spending time in nature.) Continue reading