The Extinction of Experience: Rediscovering the Connection between Humans and Nature


Hatched by Shalom

May 19, 2024

4 min read


The Extinction of Experience: Rediscovering the Connection between Humans and Nature


In today's fast-paced and urbanized world, humans are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature. This loss of human-nature interactions, often referred to as the "extinction of experience," has profound implications for our well-being and the environment. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon, the consequences it has on our health and mindset, and the potential solutions to reconnect with nature.

The Bio-philia Hypothesis and Extinction of Experience:

The renowned biologist E.O. Wilson introduced the concept of the "bio-philia hypothesis," which suggests that humans have an innate affinity for nature due to our evolutionary history. This hypothesis implies that exposure to natural environments is essential for our overall well-being. Robert M Pyle further elaborated on this idea in his memoir, "The Thunder Tree," coining the term "extinction of experience" to describe the ongoing alienation of humans from nature. Pyle argued that this disconnection not only deprives us of personal benefits but also undermines our health and quality of life.

Health and Well-being Consequences:

Research has shown that individuals who do not directly interact with nature are more likely to experience negative impacts on their health and well-being. Studies conducted by Keniger et al. (2013) and Shanahan et al. (2015) have revealed the numerous benefits associated with human-nature interactions, including reduced stress levels, improved mental health, and enhanced overall well-being. When we disconnect from nature, we lose the opportunity to benefit from these advantages.

Perception and Value of Nature:

Another consequence of the extinction of experience is the diminished perception and value we place on nature. Bixler et al. (2002) found that individuals who lack direct interactions with nature are less likely to recognize and appreciate the advantages that such interactions bring. When we fail to perceive the value of nature, we become less motivated to visit and protect it. This lack of awareness and motivation can have detrimental effects on conservation efforts and the preservation of our natural environment.

The Decline in Opportunities for Interaction:

The root cause of the loss of human-nature interactions lies in the decline of opportunities to directly experience nature. As Figure 2a and 3a illustrate, there has been a significant reduction in the rate of interaction with nature over the years. This decline in direct experiences with nature alters our behavior and attitude towards it, as shown in Figures 2g and 5. It is crucial to address this decline by creating more accessible and inclusive spaces for people to reconnect with nature.

Reconnecting with Nature: Designed to Elevate the Spirit:

Denys Lasdun, the architect of the National Theatre, emphasized the importance of designing spaces that elevate the human spirit. This concept, embraced by architect Cullinan, suggests that incorporating elements of nature into our built environment can help foster a sense of connection and well-being. By integrating green spaces, natural materials, and natural light into our cities and communities, we can create environments that inspire and reconnect us with nature.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize Nature Time: Make a conscious effort to incorporate nature into your daily life. Whether it's taking a walk in a nearby park, gardening, or simply sitting outside, spending time in natural surroundings can have a significant positive impact on your well-being.
  • 2. Support Conservation Efforts: Get involved in local conservation initiatives and organizations. By actively participating in efforts to protect and preserve nature, you can contribute to creating more opportunities for human-nature interactions and raise awareness about the importance of reconnecting with the natural world.
  • 3. Advocate for Nature-Inclusive Design: Encourage architects, urban planners, and policymakers to prioritize nature-inclusive design in our built environment. By advocating for the integration of green spaces, sustainable infrastructure, and biophilic design principles, we can create cities and communities that promote human well-being and strengthen our connection with nature.


The extinction of experience, the loss of human-nature interactions, has far-reaching implications for both individuals and the environment. By recognizing the importance of reconnecting with nature, we can take meaningful steps to reverse this trend. Through prioritizing nature time, supporting conservation efforts, and advocating for nature-inclusive design, we can cultivate a stronger bond with the natural world and reap the numerous benefits it offers. Let us embrace our innate connection with nature and strive to create a harmonious coexistence for the betterment of ourselves and the planet.

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