“Hot Paper” Spotlight: Spiritual connection with nature supersedes politics and religion

Have you ever found yourself overcome with a feeling of awe at the sight of nature’s beauty? Or, perhaps, a feeling of oneness – a feeling that you are a part of nature, as it is a part of you? You wouldn’t be alone; this sensation of spiritual connectedness with nature has been reported across culture and time immemorial – a sensation recently coined ecospirituality.

In a study* published this year, Matthew Billet of UBC lead a team of researchers – including PANGEA’s very own Sakshi Sahakari – in developing a measure aimed at capturing ecospirituality. This measure was then used in a survey of over 6,000 people, with subsequent analysis revealing two key findings: one, ecospiritual views were independent of political and religious orientations, and two, ecospiritual people expressed greater concern for the environment. This indicates that ecospirituality may be a pathway in promoting more care and concern for nature, irrespective of one’s views on environmental issues.

This article is currently among the highest ranked outputs from the Journal of Environmental Psychology (#52 of 1,249 articles), and has received substantial media coverage:



ICI British Columbia (in French)

UBC Press Release

*Billet, M. I., Baimel, A., Sahakari, S. S., Schaller, M., & Norenzayan, A. (2023). Ecospirituality: The psychology of moral concern for nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 87, 102001. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2023.102001