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  • Jennifer Birtles

How Our Inherent Love for Nature Can be Enhanced Through Our Hearing

Woodland landscape

Biophilia is a term used to describe an innate love and affinity towards life, nature, and living things. As humans, not only do we have an instinctive appreciation for the physical beauty of the natural world, but we’re often drawn to its sounds too, with research proving that they can help alleviate stress and soothe us. In fact, when asked to picture themselves in a calming environment, the majority of people will imagine a natural setting. To some extent this can help prove that biophilia is an inherent part of being human, stemming from previous eras when people lived much closer to nature than we tend to now.

However, as we increasingly move towards a more urbanised and digital world, we seem to be losing our intrinsic tie with nature. Biologist E. O. Wilson, discusses this further in his book, Biophilia. He believes that our natural affinity for life is the essence of humanity and what binds us to all living things, but that our increasing rates of urbanisation and technological development are leading to a disconnection with the natural world. It’s scientifically proven that experiencing nature is beneficial to human health on the whole, regardless of the extent to which individuals feel or recognise biophilia themselves.

The problem that a lot of people face is that the natural world isn’t necessarily easily accessible. Whether you’re stuck in an office all day or live in a built-up environment, it’s not always feasible to immerse yourself in nature regularly. Which is where the power of soundscapes can come into their own.

Soundscapes are a way of describing a selection of sounds that can be heard in a particular place at one given moment, similar to how elements of a landscape come together to present themselves visually as a whole. Some soundscapes may be unique and feel quite personal to you, while others are universally recognised. Just thinking about waves crashing on the shore, the pitter patter of raindrops falling, or hearing a thunderstorm brewing in the distance, can trigger a sense of calm.