About this Research Topic
The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming human relationships with nature at multiple levels and across a wide range of contexts. New knowledge is needed to understand the impacts of the global pandemic, given its broad spatial and temporal extents and the social distancing measures used to contain it. On a broad level, people across the world have noted that the pandemic may have resulted in positive environmental externalities, such as reduced air pollution. Further, with altered mobility patterns and limited opportunities for other forms of sociability, there has been widespread public use of and engagement with local green spaces, particularly in densely settled areas. At the individual level, however, we see that the more pressing concerns about health and hygiene have relegated conservation behaviors to a lower rung of priorities. Environmental governance is shifting and will continue to evolve in response to the pandemic and these, and other, cascading socio-economic issues - through changes in resources, agendas, actors, and networked relationships.
In this Research Topic, we will examine the wide-ranging impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on environmental attitudes, values, behaviors, and agendas on the individual, household, organizational, and societal levels. This Research Topic will advance theory and empirical understanding about the meaning, use, and governance of nature in a COVID disturbance context. It will serve as a reference for the myriad values people have for and modes of engagement with the natural world, and how these are impacted by global disturbances. We explore how outdoor recreation behaviors and environmental stewardship practices have been impacted by the pandemic, particularly given global shelter-in-place orders. We seek to understand transformations in the structure and function of environmental governance networks. It is intended to be a collection of articles striving to understand how a large-scale pandemic impacted human-nature relationships, but will also help future researchers as we think about other crises (e.g. climate change, racial injustice) affecting conceptions of nature.
For this Research Topic, we invite submissions of original research, reviews, perspectives, and policy & practice reviews. Some specific themes under this broader emphasis on changes in human-environmental relationships from COVID-19 include:
• Changing relationship with nature, green spaces, public lands, and the public realm (e.g., place attachment, frequency and type of use, location)
• Relationship between access to natural areas and mental health and well-being during the pandemic (e.g., psycho-social-spiritual; stewardship aspects)
• Adaptations to stay-at-home orders - implications for both governance actors and users of greenspaces
• Consumption motivations and behaviors of households
Keywords: Green Spaces, Public Lands, Public Realm, Access to Natural Areas, Mental Health, Well-being, Human-Environmental Relationships, Consumption Motivations, Household Behavior, Stay-at-home
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.