Sense of Community

Empowerment and a Sense of Community

Marginalisation and loneliness are a challenge, in both urban areas and the countryside. Research-based evidence suggests that the characteristics of the natural environment also improve the social aspects of well-being. It has been shown that people who are connected to nature, spend time in natural surroundings and engage in outdoor activities think more positively about other people – and themselves!

Photo: Kati Vähäsarja

Even being alone feels better in a natural than in an urban environment. Nature supports multiple aspects of our emotional lives: we often develop a greater feeling of belonging to a certain group, place or larger whole. According to an unwritten "campfire rule", sitting in silence around a campfire is viewed as socially acceptable. This helps even the most introverted people to find their place within a group.

Youth Work Outdoors

Youth workers use the natural environment to organise adventure-based educational experiences: young people are encouraged to explore nature and to find and strengthen their inner resources. The resulting sense of empowerment builds their self-esteem and belief in their own abilities. Letting go of everyday roles in the great outdoors helps young people to build a sense of community.

Nature Affects Human Interaction in the Following Ways

  • We have a more positive attitude towards other people.
  • Interaction between different age groups becomes easier.
  • Empowerment and a stronger belief in one's abilities.
  • A stronger feeling of belonging to a group or a community.