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The Comparative Restorativeness of Polluted and Non-Polluted Nature Spaces

Authors: Kelsi Nummerdor*,
Topics: Sustainability Science
Keywords: plastic pollution, restorativeness of nature
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Virtually all of the plastic produced since the origin of plastics in the 1950’s still exists.
The potential for harm caused by plastics is increasingly relevant to all of us. What we know
about how visible pollution influences humans’ relationships with the natural world is less
developed than our knowledge of plastic’s biological or ecological effects. Social scientists have
the opportunity to explore the impacts of anthropogenic pollution on the psychological health of
human beings. This inquiry investigates the impacts of visible plastic pollution on the
psychological health of human beings by assessing if visible pollution dampens or negates the
stress-relieving and restorative characteristics of natural spaces. This inquiry will also assess how
variables like connectedness to nature, personality, and love and care for nature interact with this
effect. Participants will be exposed to either a polluted or a non-polluted nature scene and will
complete a pre-test and post-test. Data collection for this investigation is currently in progress.
Pilot data and early test data indicates that some individuals exposed to the polluted nature space
experienced less stress-relief and increased feelings of helplessness compared to individuals
exposed to the non-polluted nature space. Preliminary qualitative and descriptive analyses
highlight how some participants reacted to visible pollution.

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