Monday, November 11, 2019

8:00pm to 9:00pm EST

Topic: Nature: The connection between happier people, healthier communities and a more sustainable planet
Presenter: Professor John Zelenski

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Canada is fortunate to have abundant natural environments, including public green spaces and urban parks. Although we sometimes overlook it, ‘nearby nature’ can be a source of well-being for individuals and the broader community. I will describe recent research on the potential benefits of nature. These include positive emotions, prosocial behaviour, health, and restoration from stress and mental fatigue. Beyond time actually spent in nature, developing a subjective sense of connection with the natural world is associated with many of the same desirable outcomes, and motivation to behave sustainably. I will consider some of the small things we can do to incorporate nature into daily life, with the goal of making happier people and a healthier community and planet.

John Zelenski is a Professor of Psychology and directs the Carleton University Happiness Laboratory (CUHL) in Ottawa, Canada. He studies individual differences in happiness and how these unfold as momentary thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Much of this work has focused on the trait of introversion-extraversion and how people connect with nature. His research is published in top academic psychology journals and has been featured popular media outlets. He has taught university courses on personality and positive psychology to rave reviews at Carleton, and around the world (literally) with Semester at Sea. These experiences have culminated in a positive psychology textbook available from Sage in December, 2019.