Natural Considerations: The Human Ecology of Place-making

Document Type



Environmental Analysis (Pitzer)

Publication Date



nature, biophilia, geophilia, sustainability, preservation


In this paper I examine the relationship between 'person' and 'place', and I propose that the experience of nature helps humans fulfill emotional and cognitive needs. I suggest that detailed knowledge of 'place' nurtures the development of a land ethic and consequentially is a critical component of efforts to preserve wildness. Extrapolating from E.O. Wilson's concept of biophilia (1984), I propose that geophilia is a biologically based tendency to emotionally associate with landscape. This inherent inclination toward geographical affiliation is part of our evolutionary heritage, is (perhaps) associated with genetic fitness, is related to the human propensity for symbolic reasoning, and provides a basis for a conservation ethic.

Rights Information

© 2003 Australian National University Research Publications