Cultural Services

  • Church A
  • Burgess J
  • Ravenscroft N
 et al. 
  • 188

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Abstract

* Each Key Finding has been assigned a level of scientific certainty, based on a 4-box model and complemented, where possible, with a likelihood scale. Superscript numbers indicate the uncertainty term assigned to each finding. Full details of each term and how they were assigned are presented in Appendix 16.1. Ecosystem cultural services are the environmental settings that give rise to the cultural goods and benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. Over millennia these environmental settings have been co-produced by the constant interactions between humans and nature. They are inscribed with not only natural features but also the legacies of past and current societies, technologies, and cultures. The continual change in these settings involves a range of complex cultural practices, such as the development of institutions, the application of capital, and human processes involving memories, emotions, the senses, and aesthetic appreciation. There are many environmental settings where people interact with nature including the domestic garden, informal green and blue spaces, formal green/blue spaces, the nearby and wider countryside and national landscapes. People's engagement with environmental settings is contingent, context specific, fluid and mutable 1,a . Frameworks of interpretation and social practices associated with the production and uses of environmental settings are dynamic: meanings, values and behaviours change over time in response to economic, technological, social, political and cultural drivers. Change can be rapid and far-reaching in its implications. One particularly noticeable characteristic of UK cultural practice, however, is the depth and breadth of engagement with nature and wildlife 1,c . Ecosystem cultural services make a significant contribution to achieving people's key needs. In the 21st Century the cultural life of the UK is diverse and dynamic. Yet encounters with the natural world maintain their fascination for very substantial numbers of people, as reflected for example, in the membership of a very wide range of civil society organizations embracing landscape and nature interests, the numbers of people who use urban parks and green-spaces on a daily basis, and the massive popularity of gardening across the UK. Daily contact with nature is part, still, of being human. This is illustrated by the Human-Scale Development Matrix (H-SDM) developed by Manfred Max Neef, which indicates how both existence needs (being, having, doing, interacting) and value needs (subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, creation, leisure, identity and freedom) can be met through nature 1,a . Evidence suggests that contemporary consumption practices are not satisfying our human needs adequately. Happiness research in economics, and policy initiatives to measure levels of happiness among populations reflects statistical evidence that, although people are far better off in material terms than they have ever been, rates of depression, mental illness, obesity and family breakdown are also increasing 1,b . The discipline of ecolinguistics appeared in the 1990s 2,c . It brought together research from a number of academic disciplines interested in the ways in which scientific, professional, amateur and popular knowledge about the natural world was constructed; how different media shaped the environmental messages being communicated, and the politicisation of environmental issues associated with the rise of non-governmental organisations and pressure groups from the late 1960s. Whether humankind is regarded as a part of nature or as separate from it continues to be a fault line between different philosophical, moral, ethical 1 well established a virtually certain c likely 1 well established a virtually certain b very likely 2 established but incomplete evidence c likely

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Authors

  • a. Church

  • J. Burgess

  • N. Ravenscroft

  • W. Bird

  • K. Blackstock

  • E. Brady

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