25 Apr '17, 3pm

Can access to nature make you a better person? Scientist Paul Piff is trying to find out.

Can access to nature make you a better person? Scientist Paul Piff is trying to find out.

The Trump administration’s push to weaken the EPA and revive dirty industries like coal is enough to make a nature lover want to literally head for the hills. As it turns out, an awe-inspiring walk in the woods may be just the thing we—and the planet—need. Scientists and psychologists are increasingly studying the sense of awe—that positive feeling of being in the presence of something vast, that transcends our understanding of the world (for more on that, check out Sierra ’s November/December 2014 issue ). According Dr. Paul Piff, a social psychologist at the University of California at Irvine, experiencing awe can cause us to redirect our concern away from ourselves, and instead focus it outward—something scientists call a “small self” perspective. “People are often focused on their own interests,” Dr. Piff explained, “and the small self represents the alternative to tha...

Full article: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/green-life/scientists-le...

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