Ecological Significance in Nature Appreciation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Within the heritage of environmental aesthetics, the scenic appreciation of nature is influenced by the eighteenth-century notion of the “picturesque” and by “the landscape model”. These influences have consequences, such as the exclusive focus on the visual aspect of a landscape leaving out other elements such as the sounds, smells and other sensations one can experience in a natural environment.
In the chapter “Ecological Significance in Nature Appreciation”, I present a critique of the aesthetic appreciation of nature, mentioning some international environmental case as well as examples of the everyday life. (Neglected for many years because understood as a mere context where events take place, the “everyday” is mentioned in this article as a revitalized concept that in the last years has witnessed a growing interest within philosophy and the aesthetics of everyday life which include the aesthetics qualities of living personal spaces such as yards and gardens.)
Based on the criticism of the solely aesthetic evaluation of natural environments, I propose alternatives appreciation of nature based on the pre-knowledge of the natural history sciences, which can help to understand the features and the functions of natural elements, environments and ecosystems beyond their appearance. The scientific knowledge is a good point of departure to broaden people’s horizon on the richness and biodiversity of the natural world but it should be deepened by a personal engagement with nature, as the American philosopher Holmes Rolston III proposed (Rolston III 1998, 162), which includes other senses such as the one of sound, smell and touch.
Among the natural history sciences, ecology can particularly help to display features and benefits of unattractive landscapes such as wetlands and prairies, and species that are not aesthetically appealing to the great public such as bats and Venus flytraps. Ecological knowledge can support the battle against the tyranny of the scenic landscape approach in the everyday experiences, prevalently visual, thus opening the way for supporting environmental protecting policies which do not prioritize beauty but health and well-being, not only for humans but for the whole earth ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperiencing the Everyday
EditorsCarsten Friberg, Raine Vasquez
Place of PublicationAarhus, Denmark
PublisherNSU Press
ISBN (Print)978-87-87564-93-9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Environmental Aesthetics
  • Ecological value of nature
  • Everyday Aesthetics

Field of science

  • Philosophy


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